A Benin, Edo State, lady trafficked into prostitution in Italy has revealed how she was forced into a grotesque oath-taking ritual by their recruiter. The revelation was part of a detailed investigation carried out by British tabloid, DailyMail, which visited the ancient Benin City.
A victim, identified only as Joan, said she was trafficked at 17 and deported from Italy at 22. Before embarking on her journey, Joan said a juju priest before who she was taken to “cut off my hair, my armpit, my private parts, my nose…then he took my picture”.
Another victim, 27, says how she was lured to Italy by a Benin City ‘madam’ who paid the €1,000 fee for a people-smuggler to take her across the Sahara and the Mediterranean
Before she went, however, the madam took her to a shrine dedicated to ‘Shango’, a voodoo Thunder God.
“Before I went on the journey I was taken to a shrine with three other women,’ sjhe said.
“A lady trafficker made us cut clippings from our fingernails and hair and put them on top of the shrine, and we lay down in front of it
“We were also made to drink a glass of schnapps and rub white powder in our faces, so that nothing bad would happen to us before we reached Italy.
“Then we had to swear at the shrine before Shango. We were told that if we didn’t pay back the money we owed the madam, Shango would come and kill us by sickness.”
She travelled across the Sahara to Libya and then by boat to Sicily, where she spent a month in a refugee camp before henchmen of the trafficking gang smuggled her out.
They took her to the northern city of San Torino, where she said the madam had promised her a job in a shop. Instead, she was handed skimpy clothing to wear and ordered to work in a brothel.
“When I arrived in Torino they told me to buy body cream to freshen up and look good and made me wear a short skirt,’ she said.
“Then they took me to what looked like a hotel and I saw other women dressed in little clothing. It was only then that I realised I was there for prostitution. I was forced to sleep with a man twice, and felt very, very bad, so I ran away.
“I was terrified that Shango would come and get me, but I met a local pastor who reassured me and brought me home.’
The British tabloid revealed more chilling accounts, including its visit to the shrine of an Ayelala (a deity) priest, High Priest Godspower Ojoduma.
It was reported a married woman had been made to swear to be faithful to her husband at the shrine.
Many Nigerian ladies are trafficked through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.