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Friday, May 29, 2020
GENEVA, Aug 29 2018 - “When an acquaintance told me there might be work for me in Austria, I jumped at the opportunity. She told me how good Austria was so I figured I would just get there, find work and settle in. They told me the journey was easy so I decided to give it a go.”
These are the recollections of Sara, one of thousands of Nigerian women who have been fooled by traffickers and sent to Europe, West and Central Africa and the Middle East for domestic labour or sexual exploitation.
For the past three years, the majority of people arriving in Italy by sea were Nigerian. Fifty nine per cent of all victims of trafficking (VoT) assisted by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in 2016 were Nigerians; the Organization estimates that a staggering 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girls arriving by sea that year were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
In addition to paying large sums of money to their traffickers, Nigerian VoTs often submitted to a voodoo rite which bound them by ‘contract’ to their traffickers. The so-called contract, among other things, prohibits victims from revealing the names of their traffickers and other details that may lead to the identification of exploiters — victims are too scared to break it because they are made to fear that “bad things” will happen to them and their families if they do.
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