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Nigerian Prostitutes In Europe: Driven To The Trade By Greed Or Economic Reasons

AISAGBON OMOGIADE last update 20-02-2009

The Nigerian Ambassador to Italy, His Excellency Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa submitted his letters of credence to the Italian President on the 21 of July 2008.There was thereafter, a reception organised for the Nigerian Community in his official residence in Rome.

In his speech that was frequently interrupted by applause from the Nigerians present, he told Nigerians amongst other things, to respect the laws of the host country, pointing out that some of the vices Nigerians are known for in Italy are alien to our culture. He specifically mentioned humantrafficking, prostitution and drug trafficking.He said these vices have made it very difficult for Nigerians to secure visas to Europe even for genuine reasons. While stressing the stigma that is attached to prostitution, he spoke in the Benin language to enable the Benins there understand that fingers are usually pointed at them as far as prostitution was concerned in Italy.

The Nation Newspaper of 28/07/08 carried a short story from the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) where the Ambassador of Nigeria to Sweden with concurrent accreditation to Denmark, Norway and Finland, His Excellency, Dr. Godknows Igali, complained that Nigerian girls were moving from Italy to engage in prostitution in Sweden.

Nigerian prostitutes are present in almost every city of Western Europe. However, Italy was their first port of call and as far as an average Nigerian is concerned any Nigerian girl in Italy is a prostitute.Iam therefore daring to reason from my personal experience if these girls were driven into this ugly trade for economic reasons or by greed.

My knowledge of when the first sex- traders from Nigeria came to Italy is sketchy.It is said however, that some women mostly from Lagos who were coming to Rome in the early 80s to buy shoes and bags for sale were equally soliciting for men in some Roman bars to enable them have more money to shop more than they had originally planned for before they left Nigeria.

The ladies from Benin City most of them single mothers, widows and some divorcees were said to have arrived in the mid-80s.From then till date any Nigerian girl seen by an Italian is considered a sex worker.Benin City as far as an Italian police officer is concerned is a city of prostitutes. Today however, there is no single tribe of Nigeria that is not engaged in this trade. What is obvious is that those girls from Edo State are more in number.

In the late 90s, a neighbour approached me in Benin City to buy his goat to enable him raise some money.This neighbour in his late 50s was a tipper-driver.He had a piggery and many goats. When I asked him what the matter was, he told me he was trying to raise the sum of forty thousand naira(N40,OOO) as deposit for the woman taking his daughter abroad. The woman he said, was the person then developing the parcel of land opposite his compound. I knew this neighbour had just two daughters and a son who were all teenagers.The daughter he was sending abroad was just promoted to JSS3 the previous June.All efforts to dissuade him proved abortive. did not buy the goat but the girl left all the same.

In one of my recent visits to Benin City, I went to one of the popular amala joints with some friends.As we were eating, a lady came in with two young boys. One I later got to know was her son while the other was her driver. She was greeted by a waitress who gave her a special table. The waitress who already knew what she eats served her and the two boys.She paid for all subsequent customers who called her mummy as soon as they came in. I over heard her telling her son that her daughter in Turin-Italy who had promised to give her a secret number from Western Union Money Transfer had not done so. She paid ten thousand naira (NlO,OOO) for every thing she ordered. I got to know that she was a very rich woman even before her two young daughters travelled to Italy.What then would have been responsible for her two daughters to go to Italy for prostitution?Greed obviously.

In 1998, an Italian serial-killer shot and killed a young Benin-girl after sleeping with her in his car.The dead girl’s younger sister had arrived Italy about six months before her elder sister met her tragic and untimely death.Two years later,even though some Nigerians in the city the dead girl resided had not stopped mourning her, the mother of the assassinated girl sent another of her younger daughter to Italy.The young girl, I would say, is luckier than her two sisters because she was deported by the Italian authority before she was taught what to do.

A woman in her late 40s brought her daughter to Italy some years ago. The young girl in her first outing for the deadly trade, met an Italian who took instant liking of her and told her to quit the job.She told her mother when she got home.The mother told her to tell the man the next day that she would need to pay-off her sponsor before she could get her freedom. The Italian paid all the money the young girl requested for.Not satisfied, the mother was still sending her to the road at night for the same trade. The Italian warned the girl that she could pay with her life if she was found prostituting after all he paid. The young girl passed the deadly message to the mother but she dismissed it as a windy threat.Two days later the girl was back to the road.The Italian was in hidding near the place the girl stood frequently with his hunting-gun.On sighting the girl who was unfortunately standing by another young girl, took an aim and fired his gun.The innocent girl died instantly from strayed pellets but the girl concerned was seriously injured.The mother is doing time in one of the Italian jails. Greed!!!!.

In the July-August edition of a monthly Newspaper(News Africa) published by Western Union Money Tranfer in Rome, one Ms. Isoke Aikpitanyi(founder and spokesperson of the Association of Benin City Girls. An NGO fighting against Human-trafficking and Prostitution) granted an interview tho the editor of the Newspaper where she described the Nigerian girls engaged in prostitution as slaves and not prostitutes. While I may agree with her, taking into consideration that the sponsors of these girls claim between N50,000 to N90,000 from them as settlement fee, that the parents of these girls sent them to the sponsors, entered into written agreement and most times with oaths taken before witch-doctors that their daughters will pay the stipulated amount, makes this assertion less reliable.There are however cases where the girls were misled to believe that they were coming to work in farms in Italy.This happened in the early days.

The Italian laws are very severe on sponsors of prostitutes.Some years ago in Rome, a Nigerian female sponsor was able to produce a written agreement and in fact the house- plan of the father of the girl she brought to Italy for prostitution as a proof that the girl was not misled into prostitution. She was able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the parents of the girl used their house in Benin City as a collateral in case their daughter was unable to pay her. She was discharged and acquitted by the court.Many sponsors who are doing time in Italian jails were not so lucky though the young girls they brought, came to Italy with the full knowledge of their parents.

The average Nigerian is a pseudo-aristocrat.If three Africans stand together, the Nigerian among them could easily be identified.We are flamboyant both in cars and dressings.There is little wonder corruption is every where in the country.Many marriages in Benin City have hit the rocks.Once a daughter is in Italy and Dollars then and Euros now start flowing, the mother would look for an excuse to leave the matrimonial home so that the proceeds of prostitution will be hers alone.

The statistics from Nigerian Universities, especially the University of Benin has shown a steady decline in the admission of female Benin-indigines since the mid 80s because what is in vogue is Italy and prostitution. The person known world-wide though biblical, that gave his life to save mankind, is Jesus Christ.That a child of less than fourteen years could be sent abroad by the parents to become the source of income for the family is not only ungodly but crimina1.Parents are enjoined by all natural laws to take care of their children while the children will do same when the parents become old.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Italy, His Excellency Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa is the heir apparent to the Benin Monarchy.The promises he made as far as improvement of services in the mission is concerned have been translated into action within few days to the acknowledgement of Nigerians in Italy.The fight against prostitution may not be an easy one, but a man of his standing will surely win the fight.From the city I write, within a year, we have lost two Nigerian girls to diseases related to sex while in the last ten days two, who left their homes to stand on the street to solicit for men are yet to return home.They are neither in prison nor hospital.The statistics of Nigerian girls maimed or murdered by criminals at night in Italy is very alarming.

The Benins as far as I know, have no name for prostitutes.The names prostitutes are called in Benin Language reflect the area of Nigeria they come from. The trade is both alien and taboo to the culture of the Benins. It is for this reason I implore the Ambassador to use his official status and his position in the ancient City of Benin to dissuade parents from sending their children into prostitution.

Besides the stigma attached to the trade, most ladies who stopped the trade are usually unfaithful wives when they get married.Having been used to sleeping with more than twenty men a night, their legal husbands usually do not sexually satisfy them, 90% of Nigerian ladies with children in Italy are single mothers. We can work together to restore the lost dignity not only of the Benins but of Nigerians at large

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