The United Nation’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has called the levels of trafficked women and girls from Nigeria to Europe a “crisis.” According to the Guardian, about 3,600 Nigerian women arrived by boat to Italy in the first six months of 2016, almost double the number registered in the same period in 2015.
Although a thriving s*x trafficking industry has been operating between Nigeria and Italy for over three decades, there has been a marked increase in the numbers of unaccompanied Nigerian women arriving in Italy on migrant boats from Libya. In 2014, about 1,500 Nigerian women arrived by sea, and in 2015, the figure increased to 5,633. According to the IOM, more than 80 percent of these women will be trafficked in to prostitution in Italy and Europe.
Many of the trafficked Nigerian women typically begin their journey to Europe by traveling first to Libya than to Italy by sea in overcrowded boats and dinghies in an infamous journey for costing the lives of many. In many instances, the traffickers use the facilities at migrant reception centers as temporary housing for the vulnerable women before collecting them and forcing them in to prostitution.
Simona Moscarelli, an anti-trafficking expert at the IOM, said, “There is little understanding of the dynamics and nature of this form of trafficking,” adding that “the reception centers are not good places for…women. Just last week, six girls went missing from a reception center in Sicily; they were just picked up in a car and driven away.”
Moscarelli said further, “What we have seen this year is a crisis; it is unprecedented and is the most significant increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy for ten years…
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