Three months after the global outcry on the slavery in Libya, a CNN correspondent, Nima Elbagir went undercover to uncover some Nigerians’ journey to Libya in search of “greener pastures”
The report titled, ‘Don’t struggle if you’re raped,’ gives a scary account of the activities of human traffickers in Edo, a state said to be Nigeria’s trafficking hub and one of Africa’s largest departure points. Each year, tens of thousands of migrants are illegally smuggled from there.
Nima and her producer, Leposo pretended they were migrants trying to reach Italy. They paid for the “VIP” travel package from Nigeria to Europe, which includes a smuggler who will meet them in Kano and escort them across the border into Libya.
Meanwhile, their plan was to secure a deal, set off from Auchi, the north of Edo State, and then stop the journey as soon as they were safely out of the sight of smugglers.
So, they gave scanty details about their situation, saying that they hoped to reach Italy and then travel to London from there.
They negotiated 500,000 naira for each of the women and are expected to pay on arrival.
When migrants fail to pay, they are held in harsh living conditions, left without of food, abused by their captors, and sold as laborers in slave auctions.
The women were told that the price to smuggle women was higher than small boys, because women’s journeys are “even more difficult — they are molested there (in Libya).”
As part of the women’s “VIP” travel package, they were offered condoms for the journey.
“We give you contraception.You need men in Libya to be kind to you. They will have things you want. Do you understand? You don’t get something for nothing in this life. You’re lucky, the men sometimes wait six months before they’re put on the boat to Europe.”
“Women though — if they’re like you — sometimes you can be put on a boat the very next day. Listen, don’t struggle if you’re raped,” Nema was warned.
After securing a deal, they met their smuggler to embark on the first stage of the journey. They were taken to the local bus depot in Auchi, and put in a bus traveling to Kano.
If they had continued their journey, they would have arrived in Kano 14 hours later. From there, a member of the smuggling network would have put them on a bus destined for Agadez in Niger.
From Agadez, they would have traveled to Sabha in southern Libya — a place where survivors of the slave trade said they were marched off the bus at gunpoint, later to be sold at auction.
Read more on CNN