Earlier this month, we reported the story of Nigerians who were sold, raped and beaten in Libya. Many of these people were on their way to Europe but got stuck in Libya.
But what about the people who reached their destination-Europe?
“I would not advise anybody to take the same journey I took. Because I might have survived it, you may not survive it,” a 17-year-old Becky, who just returned from Europe said.
An orphan, Becky was working as a maid for a wealthy woman in Nigeria when her daughter, who was based in Europe told her about the life there and how she would have everything easy.
“She told me, when you come to Europe you’ll have opportunity, you will go to school, everything is going to be OK for you. She said you can do whatever you want, the world there is very free. I was like, wow, that would be great. And she said, OK, maybe my sister can bring you. I was so happy, I wanted to go to Europe.”
She went through Niger into Libya, where she was held in a detention center for five months. There, she was repeatedly raped by Libyan jailers.
“It was the worst experience of my life. You scream, you shout, but nobody comes to the rescue. They rape you, they do whatever they want to do to you, you have no say, you have no choice,” she said, explaining how the jailers, sometimes, rapes her before other people.
After her trafficker paid her ransom, it was discovered that she was pregnant but she was given a liquid to drink to lose the baby.
She eventually got to Europe and now owed her traffickers €35,000, to which she was forced to pay it back by prostitution and ordered to bring back €200 everyday.
“They dressed me up, they make my hair, they make me up. I didn’t even know what they were doing. They gave me a bag with condoms. If a man sleeps with you the most he can pay is €30. Calculate how many men you have to sleep with to get that. You pay, pay, pay, and it never gets finished.”
When Becky refused to sell her body, and returned to her madam empty handed the next morning, she was beaten to stupor. Eventually, she managed to escape.
Though Becky counts herself lucky to have escaped her traffickers, her ordeal haunts her, and she has been seeing a psychologist to deal with her trauma.
According to the international organisation for migration, there is an increase in the number of potential sex trafficking victims and majority of them are from Nigeria.
IOM estimates that 80 per cent of girls arriving from Nigeria – whose numbers have soared from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,009 in 2016 – are potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
“Many people, if you ask them not to come, they would not listen to you. Because they think that living abroad is the best life ever. Everybody wants to come here, everybody wants to see what it’s like. But it’s not what they think it is,” Becky warns.
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