Italy’s Nigerian sex trafficking scandal

Agenzia Fides, the Information Service of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, reported Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria, has claimed that “80% of Nigerian girls who arrive in Italy, do so for sex trafficking purposes”. The Archbishop, who is also President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, was speaking at the conclusion of the International Conference against human trafficking in Africa held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 7 September 2016.

He told delegates: “In Africa alone, hundreds of thousands of persons are trafficked annually. A whopping 79% of the total number are sexually exploited, the victims being mostly women; 21% of those trafficked are for forced labour, the majority being males”. 

“A disturbing fact is that in parts of West Africa the majority of those trafficked are children below the age of 18. This conference must find ways of ending child labour in all its forms”, he said.

The Archbishop described the issue of human trafficking “a national disgrace” and called upon the Nigerian Government to “take urgent and lasting steps to deal with the root causes.”

The Archbishop’s statement follows a major Guardian report on 8 August 2016 which claims that since the 1980s over 30,000 Nigerian women have worked in Italy and other European countries as prostitutes. The report states that more than 85% of these women have come from the southern state of Edo, “where traffickers have historically exploited chronic poverty, discrimination, a failing education system and lack of opportunities for young women, to sell false promises of prosperity in Europe.”

The Agenzia Fides report can be read here

The Guardian report can be read here

 

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