Reuters suggests that Benin, Edo State, is Nigeria’s recruiting hub for these aspiring prostitutes.
The newspaper claimed to have spoken to a trader at Uromi Market, Linus, who confirmed high demand for the jackets among Europe-bound customers.
The report adds that the exploitations of trafficked prostitutes by Madams, pimps, smugglers have given birth to crops of daring girls becoming their own bosses in the prostitution business.
The madams are wont to make the girls swear to a sacred oath performed by a native doctor in a bid to compel obedience and loyalty from the would-be prostitutes.
Olor Elemian, a spiritual doctor in in Amedokhian village in Uromi, confesses he forces the girls into blind obedience by giving concoctions and casting spells on them, the report claimed.
The concoction, Elemian, gives the girls to drink is “brewed with pieces of their own fingernails, pubic hair, underwear or drops of blood”.
“I can make sure she never sleeps well or has peace of mind until she pays what she owes,” said the 39-year-old spiritual priest known in his neighbourhood as “Doctor”.
“Something in her head will keep telling her: ‘Go and pay!'”, Elemian was quoted as saying.
The report says the crippling debt the girls usually owe their madams and threats of violence against them has led many victims to become perpetrators by returning to Nigeria as “madams” to recruit more girls.
Elemian said many girls, now, on their own accord, visit native doctors for charms that will help them prosper while selling sex in Italy.
“It’s not how hard a person works that determines how much money she will make,” he said.
The situation has taken a life of its own, with parents being active collaborators.
The report says Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency, NAPTIP, complains efforts to combat the traffickers are being thwarted not only by the criminals themselves, but also by members of the public.
“Everybody believes that the streets of Europe are paved with gold,” said Arinze Orakwe, an official at NAPTIP. “People see us as a problem, as stopping them from reaching El Dorado.
“One mother asked me if I would prefer her daughter to have sex with a young boy in Edo and get pregnant, when she can do the same thing in Europe and earn foreign currency,” he said.
NAPTIP officials have been attacked by mobs in Edo while informing people of the dangers of trafficking, and angry relatives often snatch their daughters away from training or rehabilitation centres and threaten the staff, Orakwe added.
“These people, they are enemies, because this country is too rough now,” said Igose, a mother-of-eight who relies on money sent by her 22-year-old daughter in Italy to feed her family.
More than 12,000 Nigerian women and girls have reached Italy by sea over the past two years – a six-fold increase over the previous two-year period – with around four in five of them trafficked into sex work, according to data from the IOM.
According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), more than nine in 10 Nigerian women smuggled to Europe come from Edo, a predominantly Christian state with a population of 3 million.
Traffickers in Nigeria are exploiting Europe’s migration crisis, moving girls to lawless Libya, before crossing the Mediterranean to Italy, anti-slavery activists say.
Source: Reuters/ DailyMail