Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

nigeria germany italy france.1582502713

For hundreds of young, desperate and vulnerable Nigerian girls, the dream of living and working abroad has usually come at a high price as the promise of a job and good life turns ugly after they are introduced to drugs and prostitution.

In a racket that involves sophisticated and daring cartels that have managed to evade authorities, the syndicate continues to grow bolder and the number of trafficked victims reaches epidemic proportions.

Nigeria women form the highest percent of victims from Africa that are trafficked to Europe.

The journey begins in the West African country where naive and unsuspecting girls are approached by people they know with offers of jobs or education abroad. Most of these girls are from poor backgrounds and the chance of employment excites them. Terms of payment are discussed and agreed upon including repayment of the cost they would incur in airfare and accommodation. Before they leave, a black ceremony is performed on them including casting a spell to ensure that they never run away from their employers and commit them to refund for their expenses. The rituals usually include slaughtering of an animal and drinking of its blood. Once they set sail for Europe through the dangerous Mediterranean Sea route the agony begins. Upon arrival they are introduced to ‘madams’ who are usually part of the trafficking syndicate and are used as pimps. The girls’ passports are confiscated and they are forced into sex slavery in the most humiliating and deplorable conditions. The trade has particularly flourished in Germany, Italy and France.

There are no escape routes as the girls are usually reminded of the heavy debt they owe the madams which are expected to clear or be consumed by the spell that was cast on them in Nigeria. The media has been awash with horrifying stories of girls being gang raped, getting pregnant, beaten or breaking their limbs as they are thrown from tall buildings. The human trafficking mafia in Europe is predominantly made up of Nigerians and consists of secret societies and criminal gangs with code names like Black Axe, Vikingsor Supreme Eiye Fratenity.

The network is well moneyed and connected and operates between Europe and Nigeria. It consists of over 50 secret societies majority in Nigeria whose members include politicians and top businessmen. This explains why it has become increasingly difficult to dismantle it.

According to a 2017 report by The International Organisation for Migration, IOM, there was a 600 per cent rise in the number of sex trafficked victims who arrived in Italy by sea compared to two years earlier with 80 per cent of them arriving from Nigeria.

“Women and girls said they were exploited in forced prostitution and various forms of forced labour, especially forced domestic work, by their traffickers. They said that every step of the way, traffickers, the “clients” or “customers” who sexually exploited them, the “employers” who extracted forced labour, and the madams in Nigeria and destination countries physically, sexually, and psychologically abused them,” read a section of a report by Human Rights Watch dubbed You Pray for Death: Trafficking of Women and Girls in Nigeria.

As the syndicate spirals out of control, there have been numerous efforts at arresting the situation which are yielding results. One such intervention is by a Nigerian award winning actress Stephanie Linus who has been running a campaign to rescue the victims. The campaign has seen her travel to Italy to meet the victims and provide a haven for them.

“Coming face-to-face and interacting with the victims has been quite a harrowing experience for me. Many of the victims of trafficking from Nigeria who embark on the perilous quest say that they do so to escape poverty, to improve their lives and support their families. The ordeals that they go through – from the poverty they are trying to escape, to the traffickers they have to contend with, to the dangerous journeys they have had to endure – traumatise them so deeply that they are emotionally scarred for life,” Stephanie told FairPlanetin an earlier interview.

Nigeria has equally stepped up efforts to contain the situation. It ratified international instruments on human trafficking, introduced anti-trafficking law and established the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) a special unit with resources to specifically focus on cracking the cartels and rescuing victims. Working with development agencies, it has also set up shelters and havens for rescued victims by offering them medical care and skills training.

“It needs to be emphasised that the ‘human trafficking crises’ is a desperate, all-hands-on-deck global crisis that requires the unified efforts of all nations. As such, all available resources need to be pooled and galvanized towards dealing with the causes of frantic migration and human trafficking. No; the world is not doing enough until we have ameliorated the conditions that make young women want to escape from their homelands,” added Stephanie.

Article from: