Nigerian Victims of Sex Trafficking Share Their Tales of Horror to Caution Others

Arab-American journalist who is a senior international correspondent for CNN, Arwa Damon sat with two victims of sex trafficking in Nigeria, to hear their accounts of how they were lured abroad, and the horrors they suffered.

Sharing her experience, one of the victims narrated being tricked by a man she met in a church in Edo State, who said he was an assistant pastor.

According to her, the man had a vision from God that she traveled abroad and he said his sister could help her get a job at a hair salon.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Girls Forced and Enslaved Into Prostitution In Spain Rescued By Police

The victim said he took, “my pants, my bra, the hair from my head, the armpit and my private parts,” to a medicine man for juju.

Owing her trafficker $45,000 for covering her flight to Europe, the victim said the juju was to ensure she’d pay back.

Talking about a particularly awful experience, she said:

READ ALSO: Do Some Nigerian Parents Encourage Their Underaged Daughters to Travel Abroad for Prostitution? | Find Out Here

”There were five of them. They were brutal, they beat me up, they brought out a knife and tried to stab me. They might even kill you if you try to defend yourself. That’s the reason why it is very horrible.

And in that process most Nigerian girls lose their life, because not every girl can withstand the pressure of 10 men.

The men eventually pushed her out of a second-story window for not submitting.

READ ALSO: ‘I only tried to help the girls.’ Pastor Nabbed For Abusing 13 Underage Girls Spills

Another victim, Ede‘s story is quite different. She was sold into sexual slavery in Libya. Ede said of the man who bought her;

“He used to hurt me, apart from work. That is how they do there. When you finish paying your money [to your captor], if you are staying with a wicked somebody, they will sell you to another people so you start all over again.”

“Especially they hate us, we Nigerians… they don’t even want to hear anything concerning Nigerians,” she continued.

“They treated us like a slave, as if we are nothing. So we went through a lot there.”

A young couple were spotted proudly showing off their baby. Love has blossomed in the most unusual but uplifting circumstances for this Nigerian migrants, Mabel Emmanuel, 27, and Henry Stevens, 28, who met after she was kidnapped in Libya during an attempt to enter Europe.

Emmanuel was unable to pay a ransom to her kidnappers, so Stevens stepped in to pay the money and bought her freedom.

 The pair became inseparable and now have a three-month-old son called David.
“They kidnapped me in a place called Sabha, that’s when I met my husband. He bailed me out, it was last year and we fell in love,” Emmanuel said.
“I got pregnant in March this year and I gave birth to my baby in August. I gave birth to my baby in prison, with tears. Even though I was pregnant, they were still beating and maltreating me. But I give God the praise that I’m still alive today and I have my baby and my husband now.”

Their story is a rare silver lining amid the tales of horror recounted by newly-returned Nigerian migrants from Libya.

 On Tuesday night, the latest batch of 143 arrivals, mostly from Nigeria’s Edo State, stepped onto the tarmac at the cargo terminal of Lagos airport, tired and weary, uncertain what the future holds for them in the country they were so desperate to flee from.
Even so, regardless of the uncertainty they face, their relief at being back on home land was palpable. There were shouts of joy, prayers of gratitude and jubilation as they got off the plane.
Several of the new arrivals were women with very young babies. One of them, Abeuwa Igwe, had her 10-month old daughter Favor strapped tightly to her back.
She told CNN she left Nigeria in June last year to travel to Italy after one of her neighbors in Edo State promised her work as a domestic worker.
Abeuwa said she was willing to make the dangerous boat journey even though she was aware that many had died during the crossing.
“I was scared but I made up my mind. I prayed to God that he would help me cross over the river. Many people die, but many survive,” she said.
However, her plans to reach Europe didn’t happen as she got stuck in Libya instead. Her situation became further complicated when she discovered she was pregnant.
“I didn’t know I was pregnant before I went to Libya. I found out at five months. I was forced to give birth in the back of a condemned vehicle. No hospital. Nothing. It was God that helped me.
I was all alone. I had nothing, nothing,” she said, recalling the birth of her child.
”I spent a year and four months in Libya. All my time there was horror and terrible. I had a lot of beatings,” she recounted, pausing at times to sigh deeply before regaining her composure.
“People are dying every day, no food, no water. I was in prison for 10 months with my baby. It was horror. We just ate two slice of bread in the morning with some chai (local tea).
It’s hard for the babies to get clothes or food. They were not kind to the babies at all. The worst thing that I saw was a pregnant woman who was beaten and raped.” she said.
Like the other new arrivals Abeuwa sounds a cautionary note to other Nigerians planning a similar journey.
“In my life, I would never go to Libya. I advise Nigerians not to travel to Libya,” she added.
However, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a senior special assistant to the Nigerian president, said:
“With the outcry, they are going at a faster pace. As the week goes by, the number of planes will increase. There are stranded African migrants in detention centers outside Tripoli because those prisons are manned by rebels, we can’t get there.
It’s important that the African Union and European Union instructs them to open up all detention centers so every African there can come back home,” she added.
The United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Accord, or GNA, said it’s keen to address violations against illegal immigrants but called upon regional and global partners to provide assistance.
Watch clips of the report  Here.

Photo CreditCNN

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