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Monday, December 23, 2013

We were trafficked. Now we are illegal migrants | World Pulse

As a peer educator on Illegal Migration Awareness and Alternatives to Violence with the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) a non-governmental organization based in Nigeria, I have had the opportunity of speaking with survivors of child trafficking and illegal migration.
The stories of three young women have remained with me for over a year now.
*Christy was 12 when an aunt visited her hometown, Benin City from Spain. The aunt who was very impressed with the way she looked and how she has developed physically expressed her interest in returning abroad with her, promising to adopt her upon her arrival.
Christy was excited; finally, she would fly in an aeroplane, meet a Caucasian man and have children with long silky hair. Her parents were beside themselves with joy. Christy could finally bring them all out of poverty going back five generations and take her other siblings to Europe too.
As per the aunts request, Christy would live with other girls about the same age as she was with an agent in Lagos for a certain amount of time. She will be ‘polished’ and socialized into behaving, speaking and dressing to fit the profile of a European girl. She would not have contact with her parents or anyone from home; this was necessary to prepare her for a life of focus and independence abroad.
When it came time for them to depart Lagos, they did not leave by aeroplane. Instead, they used back roads to neighbouring countries and waited in makeshift tents till night fall to cross international borders. Exposed to the elements, hungry, thirsty, she just wanted to go back home to her family, but there was no going back.
Six months into their journey, their guardians and escorts – six men announced to the 12 of them, the need to ‘begin practicing’ the trade they would be doing in Europe. They were subsequently gang raped night after another night."

We were trafficked. Now we are illegal migrants | World Pulse

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