UN stated that 80% of the Nigerian women who traveled to Italy by boat in the first half of 2016 were trafficked into prostitution
According to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching “crisis” levels.
This is even as the IOM revealed that traffickers now use migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe’s largest cities.
“What we have seen this year is a crisis, it is absolutely unprecedented and is the most significant increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy for 10 years,” said Simona Moscarelli, an anti-trafficking expert at the IOM.“Our indicators are the majority of these women are being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes. There has been a big enhancement of criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger and younger Nigerian girls.”
In 2014, about 1,500 Nigerian women arrived by sea. In 2015 this figure had increased to 5,633. Moscarelli warned that the current policy of placing Nigerian women in reception centers along with thousands of other migrants was playing to the traffickers’ advantage, with women regularly going missing.
“Most Nigerian women who arrive in Italy are already victims of trafficking, many have been subjected to serious sexual exploitation on their journey. Many are forced into prostitution in Libya,” said Moscarelli.
“The women we are seeing are increasingly young, many are unaccompanied minors when they arrive and the violence and exploitation they face when they are under the control of these gangs is getting worse. They are really treated like slaves.”