Nigerian women and girls increasingly forced into prostitution in Italy

Image source: REUTERS
TMP – 03/08/2017
Thousands of Nigerian migrant women and girls are in danger of being forced into prostitution in Europe by human traffickers the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said.
According to data provided by IOM, the number of female Nigerians, many of them minors, who arrive by sea in Italy has soared during the past three years, rising from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,000 last year. The UN agency estimates that 80 percent of those arriving are forced to work as sex workers often lured by traffickers with the false promise of a “free trip”.

“These girls, who are increasingly younger every year, are brought to Italy and to Europe for sexual exploitation,” IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said.

“They are taken by traffickers and then they are forced to be prostitutes in the streets in Italy. And sometimes, as far as we know, these girls are also sent to other European countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Austria,” Di Giacomo said.

Many of the Nigerian girls are from poor families in Edo state. They are accompanied by a madame linked to the traffickers on the long journey through Niger and Libya.

“The increasing number of minors arriving really do not have any idea even what prostitution is, what sex is,” Di Giacomo said.

IOM officials try to intercept the Nigerian girls at landing points to offer them protection against falling into the hands of traffickers. IOM which also helps those who decide to flee the networks, reported the cases of 425 girls forced into prostitution last year to the police.