Those searching for a better life in other parts of the world are being subjected to the horrors that they sought to leave behind. According to the Associated Press, Nigerian women and girls that are migrating to Italy are being forced into sex trafficking in order to settle their debts with “traffickers.”
The international news site published the story of a 17-year-old girl named Precious who arrived in Italy via Libya. She was immediately approached by a “madam,” forcing Precious to become another number of Nigerian migrants that become a victim of this situation. “You don’t have any choice. This is what is going on, this is how it is going to be,” Precious said on the woman’s approach. “You need to prostitute.” Girls like Precious are told if they take issue with their new way of life, they’re threatened with deportation.
The AP notes 10,000 to 30,000 Nigerian women and girls (the youngest being age 13) encounter prostitution in Italy, but the country’s government is planning to implement resources and rehabilitation for those affected. Last year, $22.5 million was allotted to establish shelters and opportunities to change this plight, but traffickers also found a way inside these places.
“The traffickers work inside the centers, recruiting and running their business. The girls leave in the morning and come back at night,” David Mancini, assistant prosecutor, said. “It’s a pressing issue and we don’t have any way to prevent this exploitation.”
Precious was nearly deported back to Nigeria when Italian authorities came into contact with her on the street, but an organization that assists women recovering from sex slavery took Precious in and was able to help her land a paid internship. When Precious faced local authorities, she admitted: “going back to Nigeria is even better than prostituting every day.”