As concerns about the security of the female refugees from Ukraine are growing, our topic on Local Matters this week is human trafficking. With us in the studio, we had Ayo who was trafficked to Europe.
She grew up in a village in Western Nigeria. When she turns back there today, heavy flashbacks trouble her. After coming back to Luxembourg from a trip to her hometown last year, she had to go in a psychiatric hospital for three weeks. “All the things I went through just came back”, she says.
In our interview, Ayo tells us her story; how she was lured away from her home, with promises for a better life, how instead, she ended up without any papers nor phone or other means of communication, with a bunch of other girls living together in a house, sent out on the streets of Athens to work as a prostitute, how she was abused, how she suffered from fear when she passed the Mediterranean Sea on a small boat by night, and how, eventually, she managed to escape and came to Luxembourg where she got a diploma and now works as a nurse.
Ayo knows that many girls in Nigerian villages have similar paths; while boys are sent to schools, the girls’ education is often not a priority for their families. To pursue their education or to go work abroad, they accept the offer made by strangers, and become the prey of international human trafficking networks. Ayo estimated that five in ten girls from her village and the surrounding area experience this fate.
Photo: Wikicommons: Refugees on the Mediterranean Sea, 2016.
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