An international organisation under the aegis of International Organisation for Migration, IOM, has revealed that thousands of Nigerian girls are being brought into Italy where they are forced into prostitution.
The IOM on Friday made the shocking disclosure stating that the number of female Nigerians, mostly naive young girls, brought into the country in the past three years has increased from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,000 in 2016.
The organisation’s spokesman, Flavio Di Giacomo, while speaking at a news briefing in Geneva stated that 4,000 Nigerian girls had arrived so far in 2017.
The agency further revealed that its data is based on the information retrieved from landing sites with data revealing that an estimated 80 percent of girls brought in were victims of trafficking and potential victims.
Giacomo further revealed that the girls are often promised a free trip to Italy before they are initiated into the prostitution business.
He said: “These girls, who are increasingly younger every year, are brought to Italy and to Europe for sexual exploitation.
“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 and Austria.
“Many of the Nigerian girls are from poor families in Edo, who are psychologically manipulated during a voodoo ritual before leaving.”
Di Giacomo further added that the girls are often accompanied by a ‘madam’ who has connections to the traffickers.
“The increasing number of minors arriving really do not have any idea even what prostitution is, what sex is.
“But, many of them understand the real purpose of this journey because many times they are forced to prostitute themselves in Niger, in Libya especially, in brothels there.
“So they understand they are not going to work as hairdressers.
“IOM officials try to intercept the Nigerian girls at landing points and inform them about the prostitution ring and their right to protection.”
Stating the role of the UN agency in the fight against trafficking, he added that the agency had helped some who decided to flee from their captors adding that a total of 425 girls were reported to the Police in 2016.
“A few days ago, we had the story of this young girl, a 17-year-old girl.
“She has been told she was going to work at a hair salon; she didn’t have any idea she was going to be forced to prostitute herself.
“It was only when she arrived she found out that it was not real.
“The job was a lie and she was forced to become a prostitute, which was the only way to pay off the debt of the journey.
“She was forced to be out on the streets for 12 hours a day.”