The United Nation’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says Nigerian women, especially minors, are being trafficked for prostitution from Libya to Italy at a dangerous rate.
According to the reports, the IOM said 3,600 Nigerian women got into Italy by boats in the first half of the year, a figure that is double the number of the recorded last year in the same period.
“What we have seen this year is a crisis, it is absolutely unprecedented and is the most significant increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy for 10 years,” Simona Moscarelli, anti-trafficking expert at the IOM told Newsmen.
Moscatelli said Nigerian women who get into Italy by boats should no longer be treated as refugees but as trafficking victims and should be placed in specialist shelter where they can be supported to get away from sexual exploitation.
She said putting them with refugees give traffickers a leeway.
“Our indicators are the majority of these women are being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes. There has been a big enhancement of criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger and younger Nigerian girls,” Moscatelli said.
“Already we have seen nearly 4,000 women come in the first six months of this year. We are expecting the numbers to have increased again by the end of this year.
“There is little understanding of the dynamics and nature of this form of trafficking.
The reception centres are not good places for trafficked women. Just last week, six girls went missing from a reception centre in Sicily, they were just picked up in a car and driven away.”
Moscarelli particularly lamented the age of the trafficking victims whom she said are particularly young, a lot of them, minors.
She said they are treated as sex slaves.