Finnish Immigration Service Country Information Service Public theme report The European Refugee Fund participates in funding the project. INTRODUCTION
This theme report is part of the ERF-funded Suuntaus project of the Country Information Service
of the Finnish Immigration Service which aims to identify the most significant country information
themes and anticipate future information needs better. The method was to review asylum
interview protocols systematically by using a form designed for the purpose. The countries
examined were Nigeria, Iran, Iraq and Russia, and another theme was stateless persons. On
the basis of the analysis of the protocols, the theme of this report has been one of the most
recurring grounds for seeking asylum. However, the report does not contain references to
individual records; instead, all information is based on public sources.


"Edo girls went to Italy on visas to work picking tomatoes, but ended up in prostitution. Some
came back rich, and became examples of success." (Sister Florence, Committee for the
Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW))2

Human trafficking from Nigeria is strongly concentrated in Edo State.3 According to Beatrice
Jedy-Agba from NAPTIP4, it appears that the first people that made it across to Europe and
were successful in human trafficking were from Edo State. They started to bring their relatives,
friends and other people into the trade, and these activities started to gain strength from the
1990s onwards.5
The great majority of victims trafficked to Europe for prostitution belong to the Edo6 ethnic
group7 and come from Benin City, the capital of Edo State,8 and the surrounding areas inhabited
by Edos, namely Oredo, Ovia, Orhiomwon and Uhumwode.9 The other victims come from the
Esan and Etsako Local Government Areas in Edo north and central districts, as well as from the
states of Delta, Ondo and Lagos.10 Women are also trafficked from some of the other big cities
in Nigeria, such as Lagos, Ibadan, Sapele and Warri.11 Yorubas, Igbos, as well as women from
ethnic groups of the Niger Delta have also been registered as victims of human trafficking.12 The
majority of Nigerian traffickers are also Edos from Edo State.13
Awareness of human trafficking in Benin City and Edo State
Everyone in Benin City knows someone who has been or currently is working in Europe.14
According to Okojie et al., human trafficking is so ingrained in Edo State, especially in Benin
City, that it is estimated that virtually every Benin family is somehow involved in trafficking either
as a victim, sponsor, madame or trafficker.15 Barrister Abiodun from NAPTIP (NAPTIP Benin
1 This report uses the term "victims of human trafficking" or just "victims"; however, these persons do not necessarily consider themselves victims. 2 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 13 3 Carling 1.7.2005 4 The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters, Nigeria 5 Voice of America 21.11.2012; Carling 1.7.2005 6 When using English, Edos may call themselves Binis. 7 Aghatise 2002, p. 7; Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9 8 USDOS 2014, p. 297; Okojie 2003, p. 108–109; HRW 26.8.2010; CNN 1.4.2011; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 30; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 42 9 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 118 10 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 109, 118; HRW 26.8.2010 11 Buker 2007 in: Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 25 12 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9 13 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 108; Baye 2012, p. 25; Aghatise 2002, p. 4 14 Voice of America 21.11.2012; Economist 22.4.2004 15 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 50 Zonal Office) states that one out of ten families in Benin City is involved in trafficking in the sense that these families have one or more of their daughters, wives or close relatives working as a prostitute abroad.16 According to Sister Florence (COSUDOW), half of all victims of human trafficking have been trafficked by their own family or by close relatives. The victims are often being trafficked with the full consent of their own father, mother, brother, boyfriend or even husband. However, few of these are aware of the realities to which they are sending their family members.17 According to Aghatise, Edos do not traditionally accept prostitution or promiscuous behaviour. Women have been ostracised for this, both by her family and society.18 The decision on a woman leaving to work in Europe is often a family decision, and parents encourage their daughters to do this,19 as it is seen as an investment for the whole family.20 Many families pride themselves on having their daughter, sister or other relation in Europe earning money, pointing to things acquired with the money sent by these women.21 Sending daughters abroad has become a sort of status symbol for some families.22 Women who return from Europe wealthy do not necessarily hide the fact that the money stems from prostitution and this has become socially acceptable in Edo State.23 The success of many women who went to Europe is visible—for instance, in the form of grand houses—and this tempts others to leave for Europe.24 These successful women easily become role models for young girls.25 According to Cherti et al., as the pressure to succeed financially increases, human trafficking has become an accepted, even respected, way to earn money,26 and families involved in human trafficking are ready to sacrifice one or more family members as long as it is lucrative for them.27 As trafficking women to Europe is so common in Edo State, nowadays many people there are aware that the women go to Europe to work as prostitutes.28 Some girls take photographs of themselves for the future work before they leave the country.29 According to one of the women interviewed by Skilbrei and Tveit, stories about prostitutes being deported from Europe can now be seen on the news and the television, and consequently "everybody knows what is going on".30 The Nigerian media and film industries ("Nollywood") have covered this issue extensively.31 Women interviewed by Plambech for her research knew before their departure that they would have to work hard for 2–3 years as prostitutes in order to repay their debt and hoped that after the repayment, they could finally start earning money for themselves and their families.32 Even if the nature of the work were known in advance, many of those leaving do not necessarily know or understand the actual size of the debt or working conditions in practice, such as harsh weather conditions, the length of the working days, the duration of the work and violence they face. Some girls also think they can trick the traffickers and have a different life.33 16 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 30 18 Aghatise 2002, p. 7 19 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 83; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 25; Attoh 2010, p. 7 20 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 25 21 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 50; Attoh 2010, p. 7 22 Aghatise 2002, p. 7 23 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 6; The Independent 7.4.2011 24 Carling 1.7.2005 25 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p.31 26 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 41 27 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p.31, 48 28 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 31; Carling 1.7.2005; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 22; Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 5; Plambech 2014, p. 389 29 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 22 30 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 26 31 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 16 32 Plambech 2014, p. 389 33 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 22; Carling 1.7.2005; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 5; Plambech 2014, p. 389 Those who are aware of going to work as prostitutes may be lied to about actual earning opportunities and some are lied to about the legality of residence in the country.34 However, despite general awareness, not everyone knows what awaits them in Europe.35 Due to lack of economic capacity, literacy and education, some do not have the capacity to question offers made, even if they are suspicious.36 Some victims have been assured that the work would not involve prostitution, and so convincingly that the victims have not suspect this.37 Some of the victims of human trafficking interviewed by Skilbrei and Tveit did not believe, before gaining personal experience, that Nigerian women really worked as prostitutes in Europe.38 Some are lied to about the true nature of the work. Girls have been promised studying opportunities39, modelling careers, education and a better life,40 work as housekeepers or nannies and maids, trading in African products and attires, hairdressing, work in factories, farms, industries and restaurants41, and work as apprentice hairdressers or tailors.42 Young girls have also been deceived by promising success in the fashion industry, in show business or in well paid jobs.43 Despite a national education campaign, many Nigerians do not understand what human trafficking is in reality.44 The general opinion, even among educated people, is that the victims are in fact immoral women and it is believed that they would have had a choice in selecting their work.45 Few Nigerian victims identify themselves as victims,46 and the fact that considerable sums of money must be paid for getting to Europe is considered a normal practice, not exploitation.47 Instead of calling them traffickers, travel agents are referred to as "sponsors", "guides" or "madames".48 Victims perceive themselves as immigrants who must repay a debt to their facilitators. According to Europol, victims often become members of the human trafficking network exploiting them, ultimately assuming the role of a madame in the exploitation of others. This reduces the likelihood that victims would cooperate with the police.49 1.2. The structure of Nigerian human trafficking networks The type, the size and the organisation of Nigerian groups, organisations or networks exercising human trafficking vary amply. The size and degree of organisation of networks may be dependent upon the size of the operation and the number of women being trafficked,50 the financial strength of the groups and how well connected they are with officials. Some groups operate a loose network using mostly family members to recruit victims. Others are well structured; right from recruiting and travel agents to the law enforcement agencies, professional forgers, financiers and exploiters.51 34 Economist 22.4.2004; Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9 36 CORI 12/2012, p. 92; UNODC 4/2013, p. 39 37 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 57, 64 38 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 26 39 Economist 22.4.2004 40 ECPAT UK 29.10.2012 41 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 57; Baye 2012, p. 33; Voice of America 21.11.2012 42 HRW 26.8.2010 43 UNICRI 2010, p. 40 44 Bowers 4.9.2012, p.2; Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 25 45 Bowers 4.9.2012, p.2 46 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 10; Plambech 2014, footnote 18; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88 47 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 10 48 Plambech 2014, viite 18; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88 49 Europol 1.9.2011, p. 12 50 UNODC 9/2006, p. 57 51 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 108; Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 5 Prominent players in Nigerian human trafficking possess specific skills, have cultivated important contacts with officials, for instance, or have themselves brought together a network organising human trafficking. They may exercise a great deal of influence in the network but the network rarely is structured.52 As temporary networks are formed around specific projects and their composition changes constantly, West African criminal organisations do not carry any name of their own.53 A loose and flexible structure often makes the network very effective and, at the same time, more difficult for the police to disperse. It may be hard to identify the key players and their elimination from operations does not necessarily have a sufficient impact on the operational capacity of the network as networks reform themselves quickly.54 The key to the effectiveness of the networks is their ability to operate independently while drawing on an extensive network of personal contacts.55 According to a report by UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), published in 2005, the networks are not temporary but well organised and relatively solid and durable.56 In principle, anyone who is involved in human trafficking and who in any manner participates in or benefits from the exploitation of the victim can be called a trafficker. The following English terms, among others, are applied to persons related to human trafficking: madame (maman/mama, mama Lola), agent, trafficker, trolley man, middleman, racketeer, sponsor (often applied in Benin City).57 Besides traffickers, there are many other individuals who help facilitate operations, such as transporters, receivers, brothel keepers, forgers of documentation as well as corrupt border guards and embassy officials.58 A madame is the most important person in Nigerian human trafficking and often also the sponsor financing the journey. Madames are women who organise human trafficking59, may recruit girls themselves60 and monitor the trafficking process closely from recruitment to exploitation.61 Often there are madames both in Nigeria and in the destination country.62 The madame in Italy is responsible for the victims after their arrival in Italy, and victims usually live and work under her control.63 The madames in the countries of origin and destination are closely connected and often related.64 A man can also operate in the role of a madame; in this case, he is called "boss" instead of madame.65 In Italy, madames are typically between 25 and 30 years old.66 At times, madames in Italy recruit the victims and take them personally to Italy in order to manage the subjugation period. Sometimes, these women live in Italy on a permanent basis and regularly travel to Nigeria to recruit new victims who they bring to Italy with the help of escorts.67 In Nigeria, madames are also called Italos because they organise everything for their victims for the arrival to Italy.68 52 UNODC 9/2002, p. 42 54 Ibid., p. 42-43 55 Europol 1.9.2011, p. 12 56 UNODC 2005, p. 27 57 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 21; Achebe 2004, p. 178 58 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 40 59 UNODC 2005, p. 27; Carling 2006, p. 27 60 UNODC 9/2006, p. 52 61 Europol 1.9.2011, p. 12 62 Carling 2006, p. 27; Carling 1.7.2005 63 Carling 1.7.2005 64 Carling 2006, p. 27 66 Carling 1.7.2005 67 UNICRI 2010, p. 38 68 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 6 The terms trolley, racketeer or middleman are used for referring to local traffickers in Nigeria69 who are responsible for smuggling victims, among other things.70 The victim usually travels with young men called "brothers", trolleys or dagos.71 Often these men may subdue new victims and exploit them sexually.72 The smallest human trafficking network type is a network that consists of one madame and a husband or a fiancé loyal to her and exploits one or more women. A two-person "network" may exploit up to three women at a time. According to a report of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)73, this is the typical structure and the most representative of Nigerian human trafficking. The partner of the madame may not necessarily be involved daily in the exploitation and the madame may also receive help from her so-called factotum, when needed.74 An example of a certain kind of human trafficking network is a family with several wives and children located in various trafficking transit and destination countries in Africa and Europe.75 The madame in Italy often has a male assistant, business partner or lover who is called madam's boy, madam's black boy, black boy or maman-boy.76 These boys are young Nigerian men who often are madames' "contract husbands"77. They undertake certain tasks in human trafficking,78 such as monitoring the victims,79 running errands for the madame, going to airports and train stations to collect the victims on arrival80 and acting as bodyguards for the madame.81 Madames pay large sums of money to men to act as "contract husbands" for an agreed number of years (up to USD 300,000), during which time the men have to obey all of the madame's orders.82 A madame may be assisted by a single person who undertakes several different tasks, or she may have several different assistants, each of whom has his/her own dedicated tasks. The madame's factotum and the courier can be either a man (master or boss) or a woman (vice-maman).83 The bodyguard is often also the driver and the escort/warden who keeps an eye on the women while they are working on the street and brings them back home after their "shift" is over.84 The wardens are tasked with protecting the victims from violent clients and other criminal organisations. They may work upon call as the need arises and thus work for more than one madame at the same time. Often this kind of warden is the link between different human trafficking groups.85 When the warden works for only one madame or organisation, the structure may manage more than ten women. In this case, the madame has already reached a very influential position.86 69 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 20 70 Carling 2006, p. 27 71 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 56; UNICRI 2010, p. 45 72 UNICRI 2010, p. 38 73 United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) 74 UNICRI 2010, p. 48 75 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 86 76 Carling 1.7.2005; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65; UNICRI 2010, p. 45; Carling 2006, p. 27 77 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 56 78 Carling 1.7.2005 79 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65 81 UNICRI 2010, p. 45 82 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 83 UNICRI 2010, p. 45 85 UNICRI 2010, p. 48–49 A madame's personal assistant and the girls' warden is usually one of the prostitutes. If the assistant is a young man, they are generally helped by grown men, especially when they must use violent means for protecting the women.87 According to Godwin E. Morka (Head, NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office), the madames abroad are in strict control of each step of the trafficking process.88 They control and organise the groups, comprising usually 10–15 women, and collect their profits.89 Some of the madames have themselves been victims and become madames after repaying their debt.90 UNODC reports most madames have started as prostitutes. According to Jane Osagie (IRRRAG), some victims return voluntarily to Nigeria after the debt has been paid and some of them might end up as traffickers themselves. They are usually among the most brutal and vindictive traffickers.91 According to Europol, the number of women operating as traffickers is increasing.92 However, madames depend on men for forging travel documents and escorting the girls to their destination.93 In some cases, madames themselves take their victims to the destination country where they sell the victims to pimps. By doing this, they do not need to wait two or three years for the victims to repay their debt.94 Nigerian organised crime groups are proficient in the production of falsified and counterfeit travel documents for human trafficking, and the victims often use genuine documents issued to "look-alikes". The visa regime and the asylum system are also abused. Some discard their documents on arrival in the destination country and allege citizenship of an unstable country. Once at a refugee reception centre, they abscond and meet their trafficker or madame.95 In many cases, Nigerian human trafficking groups use Italian or Spanish residence permits – either falsified or obtained through bogus marriages, for instance – which allow the victims to travel within the Schengen zone.96 In Italy, the features of human trafficking networks are different in different parts of the country as they have adapted to local circumstances. The networks operating around Rome are less structured and sophisticated than those in Castel Volturno, Bari, Foggia, Venice and Mestre, Turin and Asti, where the madame is assisted by her partner, the factotum, the escort and the warden. Larger networks, made up of more members, are scattered throughout Italy.97 According to a report by UNICRI, the madames who exploit minors are involved in territorial cooperation, in which each one of them performs a specific task: one controls that everything is going smoothly, one organises how to better exploit the girls and eventually their trade, one rents the stretch of the road where the girls will work, one takes care of logistics and buying food, clothes and shoes for all. The report indicates that men oversee these activities and madames constantly keep them up to date.98 1.3. Recruitment of victims of human trafficking 88 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 20-21 89 UNODC 9/2006, p. 57 90 Baye 2012, p. 25; Aghatise 2002, p. 4 91 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 21 92 Europol 1.9.2011, p. 7 93 UNODC 2005, p. 27 94 Baye 2012, p. 14 95 Europol 1.9.2011, p. 10-11 97 UNICRI 2010, p. 49 According to Okojie et al., the majority of the victims are under 20 years of age at the time of victimisation.99 Madames usually search for girls who are not virgins. According to Pascoal, if the girl is a virgin, she may be gang raped, which is considered a "favour" to the girl from the madame.100 Recruitments of minors have increased as adult women, especially in cities, now realise the risks to which human trafficking exposes them.101 Many victims meet the "travel agent", that is: the trafficker/agent/madame, through family members, relatives, friends or other personal networks,102 and recruitment usually takes place in an environment that is familiar to the victim, such as at home, in the neighbourhood or at the workplace.103 Recruitment is ordinarily carried out by agents of the madames living in Italy or a sponsor in Nigeria who makes all travel arrangements and sells the victims to madames in Italy.104 Some victims are recruited by a total stranger who approaches them on the street,105 and who, in many cases, is a person who was once part of the community but had migrated and returned with wealth.106 This person may be a madame living in Europe, also known as an Italo.107 Less frequently mentioned places of recruitment are bars, restaurants, hotels and schools.108 Schoolteachers may also be involved in human trafficking.109 The agents of traffickers may contact girls' parents directly and offer help for their daughters to migrate abroad for a fee (10,000 or 20,000 naira, for instance).110 Some recruiters assist in facilitating travel documents and may also have other people helping them to expedite the process.111 The information and help received from agents in Nigeria differ. Some arrange the whole journey, including transport and documents, but others only offer information about how to migrate to Europe.112 After the initial contact with the agent, the victim is put in contact with a madame, the most important person in the human trafficking network in Nigeria and often also the sponsor financing the journey.113 The madame usually lives in a hotel and wants to familiarise herself with the girls there.114 After the initial contact, successive discussions about travel arrangements are ordinarily carried out in hotels.115 Some women actively seek information about migrating to Europe as well as financing for the journey.116 In Benin City, there are two nightclubs that the girls are set to visit when seeking means to get to Europe. They are called Italy and Spain, in reference to the destinations of the girls.117 99 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 9 100 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 23 101 UNICRI 2010, p. 40 102 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 30; Carling 1.7.2005; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 55; Carling 2006, p. 27; Landinfo 5/2006, p. 14 103 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 56, 58; Okojie 2005, p. 5 104 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 119 105 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27; Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 39 106 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 39 107 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 56,119 108 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 56 109 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 31 110 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27 111 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 56 112 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 28 113 Carling 1.7.2005 114 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 58 115 Ibid., p. 56, 58 116 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27 117 Pascoal 2012, p. 6 Some victims have also been recruited through audiocassettes or letters purportedly written by relations or acquaintances already in destination countries.118 Victims have been deceived by showing purported videocassette recordings from friends and relations in destination countries, describing life as being very promising and inviting victims to come and join them.119 Occasionally, young women have also been deceived into migrating by recruiting them as performers in musical troupes; instead, they have ended up in prostitution as victims of human trafficking. Sports competitions and religious festivals abroad have also been used as an aid in recruitment.120 Furthermore, traffickers residing in Europe have been reported to have legally adopted teenage girls with the consent of their biological parents to facilitate the procurement of visas for the girls.121 Often, the families need to borrow money or sell their assets to pay the fee requested by the agent for the journey. If the women make the deal themselves, they have to put themselves into debt.122 It is reported that lawyers in Nigeria have drawn up so-called "friendly loan agreements" that secure the victims' consent to debt bondage with their traffickers. The loan is "friendly" because it is interest-free; in Edo State only licensed moneylenders are entitled to lend money with interest.123 The victim and her family may also sign a formal contract with the trafficker, using the family's assets, such as their house, as collateral.124 The victims must produce a family member to be their guarantor either to sign legal papers or at the shrine so that the traffickers have someone to harass if the victims become uncooperative.125 Some victims have been initiated into secret cults to which their madames belong. The members of the cult must swear an oath to protect one another like blood brothers. This is done to ensure that the victims or their family do not jeopardise the businesses of the madames by reporting them to officials.126 According to the Danish Immigration Service, the normal procedure is that the trafficker in Nigeria brings the victim from Benin City to Lagos and hands her over to another trafficker who is responsible for the next step. The whole procedure may last up to two years. Within this string of traffickers the network is very strong. Each madame and her traffickers do not usually have close cooperation with other madames and their traffickers.127 According to Sister Florence (COSUDOW), the traffickers do not have a strong network in Nigeria and they normally operate underground, keeping a low profile and avoid being exposed.128 According to Barrister Abiodun (NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office), traffickers in Nigeria do not necessarily know the future madames or destination countries of the victims, and the madames do not necessarily know who the traffickers in Nigeria are.129 The traffickers appear to have contacts or agents along the routes to Europe. A particular activity, such as recruitment, preparation of documents and transportation of victims, may involve only a few active members of the group at a time.130 In many trafficking transit countries, there are "camps" of Nigerian traffickers, used by several agents from different groups. In these countries, local people assist traffickers in their operations. According to Okojie et al., the 118 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 55 119 Ibid., p. 65 120 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 55 121 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 113 122 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27–28 123 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 108 124 Carling 1.7.2005; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 125 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 109 127 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 20-21 128 Ibid., p. 21 130 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 86 traffickers would have a map of Africa, with transit camps and names of agents. The map is
usually given to persons accompanying victims or to victims themselves. The existence of such
a map would suggest that some of the groups are very well organised.131 The victims often
know that the recruiter, the trolley and the madame are in league together. According to an
informant, Italians buy off victims from Nigerian madames for prostitution. The same informant
also reported that young men are trafficked for prostitution to Europe. Nationals of transit and
destination countries are involved in human trafficking.132
Victims may set off with one person, an escort/trolley, who takes them to Tripoli, Libya, where
they are handed over to another person working for the same human trafficking network.133
Victims are kept in safe houses and hotels along the way while waiting for travel arrangements
to proceed. In Spain, victims frequently stayed in such houses for days or even months. The
time spent in Ghana and the Benin Republic is sometimes up to three months. The local law
enforcement agents seem to connive with traffickers to obtain false documents and render
assistance at the airports to smuggle people into the country. According to one victim, her
sponsor knew a lot of people at the airport and also seemed friendly with Italian airport officials.
Another victim reported that her agent took her through an unconventional route out of the
airport building.134 Human trafficking groups sometimes use the services of professionals, such
as lawyers and immigration officers.135

The sexual exploitation of victims may already start in Nigeria where traffickers may rape them
or teach them to service clients before they commence their journey. Sexual exploitation also
takes place during the journey. Some become pregnant, while others have to start prostitution
during the journey to survive.136 For some, the journey to Europe may take years. Life at the
camps in North Africa is hard, especially for female migrants who may have to trade sex in
exchange for food. Many are traumatised and unable to contact their families.137

Voodoo—referred to locally as juju—is a traditional religion in West Africa where it has been
practised for centuries.138 Spirits are said to govern the Earth and every aspect of human
existence. They may protect people or destroy them.139 For many, witchcraft is reality and not
superstition, and it is not considered as a clear opposite of the science-based view of the
world.140 Juju is deeply ingrained in society in Edo and practically everyone, regardless of social
class or level of education, believes in it.141 Many Nigerians carry amulets to ward off evil spirits
and bad luck. However, only a witch doctor, i.e. a juju priest, can use the powers of juju.142 Juju
is often blamed if someone falls ill or dies. It is thought that someone uses juju to put a curse on
them. 143 Everything from accidents, madness and divorces to infertility and other misfortunes
are perceived as the handiwork of child witches.144
132 Ibid., p. 87 133 Voice of America, 28.11.2012 134 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 87 135 Ibid., p. 88 136 Ibid., p. 67 137 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 28 138 The Independent 7.4.2011 140 Harrop 12.9.2012 141 The Independent 7.4.2011; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23 142 The Independent 7.4.2011 143 BBC 7.7.2011 144 Think Africa Press 17.9.2012 The use of juju to control victims is a prevailing factor in Nigerian human trafficking.145 A juju oath works as a form of psychological control as the fear of consequences of breaking the oath, i.e. a punishment by the spirits, is extremely strong.146 The purpose of the oath is to prevent victims from revealing the identity of the traffickers or the details of the juju ritual and to ensure they pay their debt as agreed without creating problems. For their part, traffickers pledge to take the victim to the destination.147 The oath can also be referred to as an oath of silence.148 Due to juju, Nigerian women experience less violence from their traffickers compared with victims from other countries as the fear of juju keeps them in control.149 Swearing a juju oath reinforces the pact between the trafficker and the victim150 and many traffickers require their victims to swear the oath.151 According to Isoke Aikpitanyi,152 many girls also do not swear a juju oath because they are Christians.153 Rituals for sealing the oath are performed at a juju ceremony at a shrine in Nigeria,154 but sometimes they are also performed in the destination country.155 The ceremony is performed by a juju priest, one of the most central person in Nigerian human trafficking.156 In different sources, a juju priest is also called ohen157, baba-loa, native doctor, père-savant, woodoo minister158, medicine man159 and head priest.160 Juju priests may often be accomplices of traffickers and participate in controlling victims through juju.161 Juju is a lucrative business for them and they may earn up to GBP 120 for the day's ritual.162 In Nigeria, there are numerous shrines163 that have also established branches internationally.164 In Benin City, the most potent shrine is Aru'Osun Oba.165 Fear of traditional deities and ancestors makes the exploitation of victims easy166 as victims often sincerely believe in the powers of juju.167 Breaking the oath would anger the deities, which might lead to the death of the oath breaker.168 The loved ones of the oath breaker may also be in a mortal danger.169 In addition to death, breaking the oath may result in nightmares and madness.170 Fear of juju may be so strong that "saving" victims from the streets may prove impossible as they are so fiercely committed to repaying their debt to their madames. In trials held in Europe, victims have gone into fits and trances in the witness box due to fear of juju.171 145 USDOS 2014, p. 297; Think Africa Press 17.9.2012; Europol 1.9.2011, p. 6; Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 43 146 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 18; Think Africa Press 17.9.2012 147 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 22-23; Aghatise 2002, p. 5; Carling 1.7.2005; CNN 1.4.2011 148 ECPAT UK 29.10.2012 149 Aghatise 2002, p. 5 150 Europol 1.9.2011, p. 6; Skilbrei & Tvei 2007, p. 32 151 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 22-23 152 Isoke Aikpitanyi is a former victim of human trafficking who now helps other victims in Italy and has written two books about human trafficking. 153 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 18 154 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 68; van Dijk 2001, p. 569; UNICRI 2010, p. 38 155 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 156 Carling 2006, p. 27; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 68 157 Carling 1.7.2005 158 UNICRI 2010, p. 37 footnote (See: Sennett R., Authority, New York: Norton W.W. & Company Inc., 1993) 159 Achebe 2004, p. 182 160 CNN 1.4.2011 161 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 14 162 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 15; The Independent 7.4.2011 163 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 68 164 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 15 165 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 68 166 Ibid., p. 37 167 Skilbrei & Tvei 2007, p. 33 168 van Dijk 2001, p. 570; Economist 22.4.2004; Think Africa Press 17.9.2012 169 Voice of America 21.11.2012 170 Think Africa Press 17.9.2012 171 CNN 1.4.2011 All women participating in juju rituals do not necessarily believe in juju but consider it a mere contract ritual with no magic powers. Some women's belief in juju may also fade after some time in Europe.172 According to Godwin E. Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office), the use and influence of juju has decreased lately.173 In contrast to Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office), Bisi Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON, The Women's Consortium of Nigeria) considers that the belief in juju is stil common and the victims who have sworn a juju oath are often traumatised as they feel strongly bound by their oath. It seems that the feeling of being bound by the juju oath exists regardless of the level of education of the victim. It is difficult for a Christian priest to annul the oath by exorcism or for anyone else to convince the victim that she is not really bound by the oath.174 According to Carling, pacts made in juju rituals are frequently also sanctioned with prayer rituals in the Pentecostal churches to which most of the victims belong, further broadening the pact's legitimacy.175 2.1. According to the sources, there are several ways in which a juju oath is sworn, what the rituals are like and which items the victims are required to provide for the rituals. Rituals serve numerous purposes. Some aim to instil fear of terrible reprisals, such as death and madness if the oath is broken, while others are intended for attracting clients or protecting the victim against HIV/AIDS.176 The rituals are also said to make the woman stronger, more balanced and better fitted for obeying the spirits.177 At his shrine, a juju priest performs the juju ceremony, in which he invokes the spirits.178 A significant part of the ceremony is the assemblage of a packet or packets. The packets often contain symbolic artefacts and items embodying a whole range of meanings and functions.179 The packets serve as a medium linking the priest with the victim even after she has left the country.180 Some of the following items are usually collected from the victims: hair, pubic hair, armpit hair, fingernails, toenails, blood, menstrual blood and used underwear that may be stained with menstrual blood.181 In cases where the victim has been recruited by a person pretending to be her boyfriend, the packet may include items mentioned above from both of them.182 In some cases, the packet also contained sperm from the intercourse between the victim and her boyfriend who, in reality, was a trafficker.183 The victim and the boyfriend may also eat from the same cola nut and pronounce oaths before the deities.184 In addition to items collected from the victim, the packet may include cola nuts, pieces of twisted metal, powder and soap.185 Sometimes, a small bowl, herbs and small bags evidently containing 172 Skilbrei & Tvei 2007, p. 33 173 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23 175 Carling 1.7.2005 176 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 22-23; van Dijk 2001, p. 571 177 UNICRI 2010, p. 38 178 van Dijk 2001, p. 569; UNICRI 2010, p. 38 180 UNICRI 2010, p. 38 181 Carling 1.7.2005; van Dijk 2001, p. 569-570; Economist 22.4.2004; ECPAT UK 29.10.2012; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 22-23; UNICRI 2010, p. 38; CNN 1.4.2011; Achebe 2004, p. 182 182 van Dijk 2001, p. 569 183 Ibid., p. 570 185 Ibid., p. 564 tablets of the malaria drug chloroquine are placed in the packet.186 Large quantities of chloroquine and small quantities of soap have been used in various part of Africa to perform abortions. The method is cheap but not necessarily effective.187 The packet may be wrapped up in cloth.188 The priest may give the victim a note with instructions on how to use the various items.189 The packet has magic significance. It or the items included in it embody personal and spiritual power, beauty and sex appeal, protection and success and make the woman attractive to men or otherwise support the fulfilment of the pact.190 Pieces of twisted metal refer to the power of the Ogun deity, soap and powder enhance beauty and sexual power and the kola nut is an exchange of faithfulness between lovers.191 Some victims have been given the packet to take with them to Europe192, after which they are obligated to "guard" it. In some cases, traffickers have carried the packet to Europe.193 For some, the packets are left at the shrine until the debt was repaid.194 According to UNICRI, rituals involve the assemblage of several small packets instead of just one, which are given to the woman and, at times, to her father or mother as guarantors and witnesses of the pact and to the madame. Once the debt has been repaid as agreed, the victim will receive the packets back as a proof that the pact has been respected.195 The packet may also be sold to the madame who purchases the girl in Europe, transferring the spiritual control of the victim to the madame in question.196 In the ceremonies, the victim may be cut with a razor blade on different parts of the body, such as chest and forehead,197 and medicines may be rubbed into the wounds. The purpose of these medicines is to enhance the victim's beauty and afford travel protection.198 In addition, the victim may be made to swallow different objects and sacrificial blood.199 The rituals sometimes involve offerings of money200 and the slaughtering of animals, such as goats and white chickens, to ensure a safe journey. Animal blood is sprinkled on victims.201 Dried chameleons and chickens are often used in the rituals.202 Some are forced to drink the water used to wash a dead person's body.203 Examples of different juju ceremonies: In a ceremony on a river bank, the minister asked the girl to kneel down, lit some candles and started praying to the "spirit of water" (mami-water). He wet her with some of the river's water and she swore to always obey the madame, who was attending the ceremony. The girl left to the madame and the minister some photographs of her, a sweater and a small sachet made with a piece of the fabric of the dress she was wearing. A lock of the girl's hair was placed in the sachet.204 186 van Dijk 2001, p. 567 187 van Dijk 2001, p. 568 188 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23 189 van Dijk 2001, p. 568 190 Carling 1.7.2005; van Dijk 2001, p. 571; Carling 1.7.2005 191 van Dijk 2001, p. 571 192 Ibid., p. 564 193 Ibid., p. 571 194 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66; van Dijk 2001, p. 569 195 UNICRI 2010, p. 38 196 CNN 1.4.2011 197 ECPAT UK 29.10.2012 198 van Dijk 2001, p. 570 199 Ibid., p. 566 200 Ibid., p. 570 201 Ibid., p. 571 202 The Independent 7.4.2011 203 Aghatise 2002, p. 10 204 UNICRI 2010, p. 56-57 In another ceremony, the priest commanded the victim to undress and wash in a hut outside the shrine. When the victim returned, the priest blew chalk dust over her body and smeared clay over her forehead, marking her out so the spirits can identify her soul that is being offered to them. Then he asked her to kneel before him to swear the oath. After the ritual, the priest lifted the victim to her feet. The victim seemed relieved and said she felt safe in his hands. The shrine of this priest was filled with juju fetishes: rattles, idols made out of feathers, bones and sea shells, crucibles filled with bright powders.205 In a ritual, the girl was stripped and cut with a razorblade so her blood could be collected. Her body hair was shaved off and she was forced to lie naked in a closed coffin for hours. She then had to eat a raw chicken heart. In another case, the girl was taken to a river where she was told to eat white clay, had a rock passed from a priest's mouth to hers, was given black soap to wash with and a raw chicken's egg to eat.206 The purpose of these rituals was to instil terror in the victims and ensure that they do not give any information about their experiences.207 The victims regard the oath sworn in the juju ceremony as a solemn oath208 and as a result, are not ready to break it easily. The oath cannot be renegotiated,209 and it is considered to be binding regardless of where the victims are residing.210 For this reason, the majority of victims will not cooperate with the authorities in destination countries,211 which in turn complicates legal action against traffickers.212 The belief in juju is often so strong that victims of human trafficking who have been "rescued" from the streets may return there and to their traffickers as soon as possible.213 In the Netherlands in the 1990s, it was reported that underage prostitutes who were controlled through voodoo trembled with fear and even ended up in uncontrollable fits and seizures when interrogated by the police. It was important for the girls to get their "packets" into their possession, and these packets seemed to keep the girls under the control of their traffickers.214 Juju rituals may cause the victims severe psychological and even psychiatric problems,215 and it may take years for the victims to recover or feel safe from the juju.216 Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced by the victims seem to confirm that the spirits are inflicting retribution for breaking the oath. Nigerian victims often display symptoms of PTSD, and the related mental and psychosomatic symptoms and other potential problems are interpreted as a result of juju.217 It is reported that one victim spent several months in hospital after returning from Europe to Nigeria. As she felt that she was going crazy, she was taken to one of 205 The Independent 7.4.2011 206 BBC 7.7.2011 208 Carling 1.7.2005 209 UNICRI 2010, p. 38 210 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23-24 212 Think Africa Press 17.9.2012; Aghatise 2002, p. 8 213 van Dijk 2001, p. 565 214 Ibid., p. 564 215 Aghatise 2002, p. 6; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 22-23 216 ECPAT UK 29.10.2012 217 Think Africa Press 17.9.2012; Aghatise 2002, p. 8 the Pentecostal churches for "deliverance" from the voodoo oath.218 Because of the psychological nature of juju, victims are not safe from the subjective fear of the juju oath. Even though a victim gets a residence permit in the destination country, she may still fear that the juju priest is capable of killing her. Hence, psychotherapy is important.219 The Girls' Power Initiative organisation (GPI) has used Christianity to decrease the power and influence juju priests have over people and to oppose the traditional spirits so that the rituals will no longer have a hold on the victims.220 NAPTIP has raided shrines in Edo to stop the use of juju in human trafficking, and witness protection has been given to some juju priests who have exposed traffickers.221 In its raids, NAPTIP has reclaimed items that victims were forced to leave at shrines in ceremonies.222 Not all victims use the term "voodoo" when describing their experiences of juju ceremonies at shrines, and the rituals are not necessarily experienced as intimidating and coercive as such.223 According to Carling, voodoo only becomes an oppressive part of the pact if the woman tries to break the pact.224 If the victim wants to leave the prostitution network, she may face physical violence and be threatened with juju.225 According to Van Dijk, some victims use the term "voodoo" when describing frightening rituals performed on them in Europe. He reports that "voodoo" denotes a kind of "inauthentic" ritual, performed solely with the trafficker's commercial interests in mind and not performed by ritual specialists.226 Nigerian victims of human trafficking in Italy have described their experiences as victims with the following juju-related expressions: "I've got a snake in my head", "There's a snake in my bel y", "I can feel the water in my head", "Cool my head", "I'm possessed", "Last night there were ants coming out of my feet", "The other night I went to Benin City and I came back this morning", "I hear voices that tell me to go back home because my parents are in danger", "I want to go to sleep and never wake up again", "Break my head open to get out the poison they made me swallow".227

The journey from Nigeria to Italy is often long and rough for the victims of human trafficking, and
in some cases, it may take years. Many are raped during the trip.228 For most victims, the nature
of the work may only become apparent in the destination on the day of their arrival229 or a
couple of days after the arrival. Madames may take them shopping for "work clothes" suitable
for the new job, i.e. scanty blouses, short skirts, a handbag and a wig,230 and the victims are told
to join those who arrived before them on the streets.231 Women who have been in the
218 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 219 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23-24 220 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 15 221 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 15 222 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23 223 van Dijk 2001, p. 571 224 Carling 1.7.2005 226 van Dijk 2001, p. 572 227 UNICRI 2010, p. 69 228 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 26 229 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 69 230 Ibid., p. 66 231 Ibid., p. 67 destination country for some time are instructed to encourage and teach the newer victims in their work.232 The victims may also be initiated into prostitution through violence or rape.233 Usually, travel documents are seized from the victims upon their arrival in the destination country in order to make them, as undocumented immigrants, afraid of officials and more dependent on the traffickers.234 In addition to debt, their illegal status is a prevailing factor in the victims' lives in Italy.235 The victims feel that they cannot leave their madames due to their illegal status because they have limited chances of finding another job and the debt must be repaid.236 Traffickers may tell the victims to apply for asylum in Italy by retelling a story they have learned. The decision-making takes six months and the applicants are issued with a temporary residence permit for this period.237 Baye's findings show that it takes six months before these applications are attended to,238 and 99% of asylum applications made by Nigerians are rejected as the grounds provided by them do not fall under the criteria for being granted asylum. At least in Turin, the police believe that all Nigerian women are victims of human trafficking.239 Many of the victims do not know how a residence permit or a work permit is applied for, and there are different ideas on how the process proceeds. Some are helped by their madame in the application process, while others do everything themselves. 240 The relationship between the madame and the victim may be both exploitative and protective, but it is never symmetrical and the madame uses it according to her needs only. It is the madame who decides what kind of relationship the victim must have with her, how much money the victim must earn, how the victim must dress and what she must say when coming across officials or other traffickers. The madame may seclude the victim for days if she does not obey. The madame may choose a favourite girl among the victims based on the girl being obedient and making a great deal of money and thus able to keep watch on the other girls. The madame lets her favourite rise within the group's hierarchy, even if she is stil in a totally subdued position with regard to the madame.241 Nonetheless, many victims see the madame as a benefactor who helped them to escape poverty in Nigeria.242 3.1. Debt to traffickers Most victims expect to get into debt to traffickers, but they are informed of the size of the debt only once they arrive in Europe.243 Some know the actual size of the debt from the beginning but do not necessarily understand how much money it really is or what they must do to repay it.244 Many think that the debt amount they were told in Nigeria was in Nigerian nairas. Only in the destination have they found out that the debt is in euros, or they did not know or understand the exchange rate of the euro.245 Often the victims have not had advance knowledge about how 232 Ibid., p. 56–57 233 UNODC 2005, p. 27 234 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65 235 Baye 2012, p. 25 236 Ibid., p. 21-22 237 Baye 2012, p. 23 238 Ibid., p. 24 240 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 30 241 UNICRI 2010, p. 45 242 Aghatise 2002, p. 11 243 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9 244 Carling 1.7.2005 245 Voice of America 21.11.2012; Baye 2012, p. 20; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88; Landinfo 5/2006, p. 9 long it takes to repay the debt,246 and they have been given the impression that the sum can be easily earned in a few months.247 Depending on the mode of transport, the journey results in a debt of EUR 35,000–60,000, sometimes even EUR 70,000–80,000,248, although the costs for travel and the required documents are significantly lower.249 Travelling by air is more expensive than by sea due to the travel document procurement costs and airline ticket prices. The resulting debt often amounts to EUR 55,000–60,000 whereas the debt from travelling by sea is EUR 50,000.250 The madame may claim to have invested the entire debt sum for the costs of the journey.251 It usually takes from one to three or four years for victims to repay their debt.252 The repayment of a EUR 35,000–50,000 debt normally takes 2–5 years.253 The debt is sometimes increased as punishment for bad behaviour, or it is attempted to protract the repayment period in other ways.254 Potential abortions and pregnancy increase the debt, and a fine of EUR 10,000 or more may be added to the debt of those women who become pregnant during the trip.255 In contrast to other sources, Aghatise reports that the debt has to be paid in a matter of a few months from the moment the victim starts working, at the risk of violence being used by the madame on the victim or her family in Nigeria.256 Madames collect the money earned by the victims daily or weekly and record the amounts meticulously.257 If the madame thinks that the victim is not bringing in enough money, the victim may be subjected to physical abuse.258 In addition to the debt, the victims must pay the madame each month approximately EUR 100 for food, EUR 250 for lodging, EUR 250 for the work site on the street (joint) and also extra costs for clothes, cosmetics, transport and other personal expenses.259 These expenses are usually deducted directly from the earnings.260 If the madame does not live with her victims or near to them, earnings may be sent to her through Western Union or an illegal service, if necessary.261 According to Okojie et al., in Italy madames pay the local mafia rent for the joints where their prostitutes work.262 In Castel Volturno, the local Camorra mafia lets the Nigerian mafia operate in peace in the area in exchange for percentages received as the joint rent.263 In Turin, too, the local mafia is involved in renting joints, but in Palermo the local Cosa Nostra mafia does not seem to participate in this type of activity.264 Often the victims have very little money left to spend on themselves or to send back home after debt payments and other expenses.265 Usually the victims are not allowed to send money home 246 Baye 2012, p. 20; UNODC 2005, p. 27; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88 247 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 18 248 Baye 2012, p. 20; UNODC 2005, p. 27; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88; Bonetti 2011, 266-267; Carling 1.7.2005; Economist 22.4.2004; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27-28; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 17 249 Carling 1.7.2005; Economist 22.4.2004; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 27-28; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 17 250 Baye 2012, p. 20; UNODC 2005, p. 27; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88 251 UNODC 2005, p. 27; Baye 2012, p. 20; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 88 252 Carling 1.7.2005; Baye 2012, p. 22 253 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 91; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 18 254 Carling 1.7.2005 255 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 17, 26 256 Aghatise 2002, p. 5 257 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67; UNICRI 2010, p. 45 258 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67 259 Bonetti 2011, 266–267; Maragnani & Aikpitanyi 2007 in: Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 22 260 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67 261 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 17–18 262 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 87 263 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 22 264 Ibid., p. 28-29 265 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67 until the entire debt is repaid. Some try to hide a part of their earnings in different places so that they could send some money home in secret.266 If they get caught, a fine may be added to their debt 267 or they may be physically abused.268 However, sometimes the madames may help the victims send money home, especially if relations have been complaining.269 It is the madame who finally determines when the victim has settled her debt. 270 Some madames report their victims to the police just before they finish repaying their debt. In this way, they can remove these victims from the market, from competing with new victims earning money for the madame.271 The madames also report women they consider difficult and disobedient to the police.272 It is common for victims to remain working for the madame after repaying their debt, and many victims eventually become madames or traffickers themselves.273 Indeed, a typical feature of Nigerian human trafficking is its self-producing organisational structure.274 Even after the repayment of the debt, all victims are not free to do what they like or quit prostitution. Earnings from any other work available to them would not be sufficient for providing for both themselves and their family in Nigeria.275 Some women are reported to stop paying their debt as they consider it unreasonably large, the working conditions unbearable, or both.276 The fact that the pact does not last forever may convince some victims to adhere to the pact in spite of unbearable working and living conditions.277 3.2. Everyday life of victims of human trafficking in Italy The victims live and work in Italy under the control of a Nigerian madame.278 They often live in cramped rooms, sharing the room, and sometimes even the bed, with 4–5 other girls and at times also with the madame.279 The victims may call one another "sisters" and younger girls "babies". This gives them the representation of a bond that acts as a substitute of their own families in Nigeria.280 Madames may assume a benevolent role, taking victims shopping or helping them send money home, which reinforces the bond between them.281 According to Pascoal, a typical madame usually lives with the girls. Yet, according to a Methodist pastor interviewed by her, the majority of the madames of the victims working in Palermo live outside Palermo and there are also cases in which the madame lives in Palermo and the girl in another Italian city.282 266 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 91 267 Baye 2012, p. 22 268 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67 270 UNODC 2009: 45 271 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67; Landinfo 5/2006, p. 10 272 Landinfo 5/2006, p. 10 273 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67; Carling 1.7.2005 274 Carling 1.7.2005 275 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 35 276 Ibid., p. 34 277 Carling 1.7.2005 278 Carling 1.7.2005; Achebe 2004, p. 182 279 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 70 280 Pascoal, 19.12.2012, p. 14 281 UNODC 2009, p. 45 282 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 34 The victims' movement and communication with friends and relatives are restricted in Italy. The victims may communicate with their relatives only in the presence of the madame to ensure that the victim does not reveal her real situation.283 According to Pascoal, the victims regularly change city in order to avoid being recognised by the authorities or establishing bonds with local people who could try to get them off the streets.284 In Italy, Nigerian prostitutes normally work on the streets. Madames have their designated streets or stretches of the street on which their victims work, with payment to the local mafia for that street.285 Some madames also cooperate with other madames operating in the area.286 Illegal status in the country makes the victims vigilant and run when they spot the police.287 The madames' agents monitor the victims' movements through mobile phones and sometimes patrol the streets to ensure that the victims do not try to contact anyone.288 Even though many victims know they will end up as prostitutes, they probably are unaware of the actual conditions on the streets of Italy. They have to wear scanty clothing in the rain and snow and work all night. Their earnings are seized and they experience violence from their madames and clients.289 Work may be carried out in two shifts: the day shift from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the night shift from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.290 The victims stand by the roadside waiting for clients, and when a car stops, they enter the car. The client returns the victim to the same spot.291 In the prostitution market, African women are considered second class prostitutes; therefore, they get a lower price for their services. For sexual services in a car, they can charge only EUR 10–15, whereas the Eastern Europeans charge EUR 25 for the same service.292 Nigerian prostitutes are often regarded as more aggressive in procuring clients than other prostitutes. Prostitutes from other countries also accuse Nigerians of selling sex below the "market rate" and being often willing to have unprotected sex.293 The victims have a high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, and 10–15% of women working on the street are HIV positive.294 Many victims are afraid of going to the hospital in Italy because they do not have a residence permit or because their madames will not let them go to the hospital for fear of being apprehended by the police. Many are ignorant of the social and medical services available to undocumented migrants. In Italy, it is possible to acquire an official document called Tesserae ISI (Informazioni Sanitarie Immigranti) which allows foreigners to access medical care even if they are undocumented. Despite the fact that prostitutes have various health problems, especially abdominal pains, many still shy away from the hospital for fear of deportation.295 In addition to sexually transmitted diseases, unprotected intercourse and rapes cause unwanted pregnancies followed by forced abortions.296 Many victims have to undergo more than one abortion.297 The victims may be forced to undergo abortions without anaesthetics,298 and 283 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 64, 66 284 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 17–18 285 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 87 287 Baye 2012, p. 28 288 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65 289 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65 290 Achebe 2004, p. 182 291 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67 292 Bonetti 2011, 266–267 293 Carling 2006, p. 44 294 Bonetti 2011, 267 295 Baye 2012, p. 25 296 Bonetti 2011, 267 297 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 25 abortions may be made by the madames with mixtures made of blood and herbs.299 An abortion is a very serious matter for Nigerian women as, in their culture, children are a blessing and maternity is highly appreciated.300 Lately, many victims, prompted by traffickers, have opted not to undergo abortion, in order to have better chances of seeking asylum and avoiding deportation.301 The babies are an advantage for the victim in being issued with a residence permit, but also for the trafficker who, in this way, can keep the victim on the street in Italy and increase her debt.302 Children can be used as leverage to extort the victims, by threatening to take the children from their mothers, for instance.303 The Italian social services may also take the children if the mothers do not get out of prostitution. At the same time, the traffickers threaten the victims' children if the victim leaves prostitution. This makes the situation very complicated for many of the victims. If the madame does not accept a child, the child may be sent to Nigeria to be looked after by the victim's family. In this case, the victim's family may demand the victim to earn more, referring to the child being ill or needing money for school.304 3.3. Violence experienced by victims of human trafficking The victims often experience physical violence at the hands of madames, traffickers, clients and sometimes the police.305 Often they also have problems with competing prostitutes.306 However, not all victims have experienced violence, especially those who migrated to Italy over 10 years ago.307 Nigerian victims do not experience more violence from their clients than prostitutes from other countries, but they are more vulnerable due to contempt and their lower position in the prostitution market. They also experience violence from competing prostitution groups that may try to scare them off the market.308 The victims are also subjected to verbal abuse,309 and they are intimidated with stories of the Italian police shooting at girls without a residence permit.310 Traffickers and madames use violence towards the victims if they refuse to prostitute themselves, especially on arrival in Italy, do not earn enough311 or are otherwise disobedient.312 In addition, the victim as well as her parents and relatives in Nigeria are threatened with violence313 and the victims' families are attacked in Nigeria.314 The victims are made to work when they are ill, menstruating or pregnant.315 Although violence is common, due to juju it is neither a rule nor a necessity in the Nigerian model of human trafficking.316 Threatening with juju may often be enough to make the victims obey.317 298 Aghatise 2002, p. 6 299 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 30 300 Bonetti 2011, p. 267; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 25 301 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 25 302 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 30 303 Aghatise 2002, p. 6 304 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 26 305 Baye 2012, p. 26; Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 90-91; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65; Aghatise 2002, p. 10; Peano 2013, p. 9 306 Peano 2013, p. 9 307 Baye 2012, p. 26 308 Carling 2006, p. 49 309 Aghatise 2002, p. 10 311 Baye 2012, p. 26; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65 312 Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 91 313 Baye 2012, p. 13 314 Aghatise 2002, p. 6
It has been reported that madames burn victims with hot irons as a form of punishment.318
Some victims have been chained to beds to prevent them from running away while their
madames go out.319 One victim had been tortured by burning her with a cigarette all over her
body, forcing her to kneel into acid and by almost removing her scalp.320 Victims are raped and
also exploited sexually.321 In addition, they are also hired out to make pornographic films and to
engage in other sexually perverted activities.322 A 16-year-old victim was gang raped because
she was a virgin and refused to go into prostitution.323 In extreme cases, traffickers have killed
their victims.324
The most common forms of violence committed by clients are theft, sexual assault and
exploitation, and exceptionally torture and murder.325 Victims are forced into unprotected
intercourse.326 Victims of human trafficking are easy targets for exploitation and mistreatment as
clients know that no-one will help the victims.327 On the other hand, clients may offer victims
assistance by paying off their debt or by taking them to the police, and some get married with
victims.328 On the streets, victims also experience violence from passing youth who may
sometimes attack them and throw all kinds of unpleasant objects at them.329

Assistance received by victims of human trafficking in Italy The social protection programme created by the Italian government in 1998 (Article 18 in the Italian legislation) offers social protection and assistance to victims subject to violence and extreme exploitation as well as the opportunity of being granted a legal residence permit on humanitarian grounds (Presidential decree No 394 of 1999). However, the programme only protects victims if they suffer severe forms of violence and if the information provided by them helps in the arrest and conviction of traffickers.330 One criterion for entering and staying in the protection programme is abandoning prostitution.331 The majority of women are excluded from the programme as they do not meet the requirements for enrolment.332 The rejection most times leads to repatriation to Nigeria, but many of the repatriated women re-migrate if they have the opportunity.333 In the protection programme, a victim can lay a complaint with the police in two ways: through either a judicial or social route. In the judicial route, the victim makes a formal complaint to the police and reports key evidence in a lawsuit against traffickers. In the social route, the victim makes an informal report to the police and does not press charges against traffickers. The 316 Carling 2006, p. 48 317 Aghatise 2002, p. 10 318 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 65; Baye 2012, p. 26; Aghatise 2002, p. 6 319 Baye 2012, p. 26 320 Ibid., p. 27 321 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 64; Aghatise 2002, p. 10 322 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 67 323 Baye 2012, p. 26 324 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 325 Baye 2012, p. 27; Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 326 Aghatise 2002, p. 6 327 Baye 2012, p. 27 329 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 70 330 Baye 2012, p. viii; Baye 2012, p. 3 331 Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 96 332 Baye 2012, p. 3 333 Danna 2007, p. 245 in: Baye 2012, p. 3 police prioritise the judicial route over the social one.334 Consequently, victims who are relatives, lovers or otherwise bound to the trafficker or the madame do not necessarily report their victimisation to the police.335 Threats and actual violence are often administered to the victim's family in Nigeria if the woman testifies against her traffickers in Italy, but these threats and acts are not taken in earnest in Italian courts.336 In practice, the victim is granted a residence permit and access to a protection programme only if she is prepared to press charges against her exploiters, i.e. chooses the judicial route. This is not required by the law and few women are prepared to do this.337 In order to enter the protection programme, the victim must tell a convincing and dramatic story.338 In practice, one criterion for entry is the number of years spent in Italy, even though this is not stated in the policy.339 If the victim has been too long in Italy, i.e. more than four years, it is assumed that she ought to have repaid her debt, which raises doubts.340 In Italy, Nigerian women are generally considered prostitutes or potential prostitutes, which has led to the discrimination of their asylum applications and enrolment into the social protection programme. According to Baye, the dichotomy of "dirty" "loose" voluntary prostitutes and abused prostitutes shapes anti-trafficking measures in Italy,341 which are directed against both prostitutes and traffickers. Consequently, their purpose is not solely to protect victims.342 The victims enrolled in the protection programme have varying experiences of how the programme has met their expectations. Many are pleased about how the programme offered them a new life and helped them become independent.343 However, in reality, the victims have to repay their debt to the madame, which is why some flee from the protection programme. It is the only possibility they see because in practice they can pay their debt only through prostitution, an activity prohibited from participants of the protection programme. In the majority of cases, the victims accept the help provided by the programme but refuse to denounce their madames. According to UNICRI, this can be considered to communicate a message to the madame: if the victim does not denounce her, in return the madame should not touch the victim's family or relatives.344 The victims seem to be aware of their possibilities to quit prostitution and access assistance and services, if they wish to, when they decide to leave the madame.345 According to a study conducted by J. Cole in Palermo, anti-trafficking projects implemented by churches and various organisations geared to assist victims have yielded limited results. Debt peonage, human trafficking networks and the threat of juju ensure that virtually all victims stay on the streets long enough to pay off traffickers.346 Often, minor victims believe more easily than adults that madames are capable of anything, such as threatening and hurting their parents in Nigeria. Breaking the image of the madame as an omnipotent person is part of the therapeutic wok of the protection programme, called "de-woodooization" by the workers.347 Minor victims very often declare an age older than their real 334 Baye 2012, p. 17 335 Baye 2012, p. 28 336 Peano 2013, p. 12 337 Baye 2012, p. 31-32; Peano 2013, p. 12 338 Baye 2012, p. 30 339 Baye & Heumann 2014, p. 96 340 Baye 2012, p. 30 341 Ibid., p. 35 342 Ibid., p. 11 343 Ibid., p. 29 344 UNICRI 2010, p. 67 345 Ibid., p. 76–77 346 Cole 2006, p. 218 in: Baye 2012, p. 3 347 UNICRI 2010, p. 68 age because they are afraid of being deported because of their age.348 Consequently, it is
impossible for the employees of the organisations to establish the age of the women working on
the street since the women have no identification documents.349 The employees rely on their
experience-based intuition in the identification of potential minors.350
The women interviewed by Skilbrei and Tveit in their study had left Italy because they were not
content with their life there. Also, women who had a residence permit for Italy considered their
working conditions and earnings poor and had been forced to do involuntary part-time work in
the service industry.351 One of the women interviewed said that after receiving assistance, she
could not find work in Italy and her residence permit did not allow working as a prostitute. As a
result, she decided to go to Norway. Another woman had felt that prostitution in Norway is safer
than in Italy as there is less violence, criminality and pimps in Norway.352 Some women said that
they travel to Norway on tourist visas to sell sex, either regularly or on special occasions, to
earn money for more significant expenses or to solve economic difficulties. The women stayed
in Norway for a period ranging from a couple of weeks up to three months at a time.353

Organisations offering protection and services in Italy include the following: The Città e
Prostituzione organisation operates in the Venice-Mestre region.354 The Jerry Essan Masloo
medical and social service agency operates in the Castel Volturno region.355 The Liberazione e
speranza project operates in the Novara region (further information about the operations of the
organisation can be found in UNICRI's report).356 The majority of the girls served by this
organisation have a very low degree of schooling and, at times, are almost illiterate. They may
also have problems remembering the places and the streets where they worked.357
According to UNICRI, there may be deficits in the financing and personnel training of the
organisations offering assistance in Italy.358
Nigerians' working areas in Italy In Italy, the well-known areas where Nigerian prostitutes work are the Piedmont region (especially Turin that records a high number of female immigrants from Edo State359), Lombardy, Veneto (mainly Verona), Emilia Romagna and Campania (the provinces of Caserta and Naples). In addition, in recent years Nigerians have also spread to new areas, such as Asti and Novara, the area of Garda Lake, Abano Terme and Mestre in northern Italy. In central Italy, there is a Nigerian presence in the coastal areas, such as the area from Pisa and Livorno to Grosseto and the area of Lazio around Civitavecchia and Ostia, and also inland from Arezzo and Perugia all the way to Terni. In southern Italy, there are a great deal of Nigerian victims in Castel Volturno and Mondragone and on the coast in Battipaglia, in the suburban areas of the major cities in Apulia (Foggia and Bari, Lecce and Brindisi), the Calabria coastline between Corigliano and Crotone and between Lamezia Terme and Tropea. There has also been an 348 Ibid., p. 81 349 UNICRI 2010, p. 65 350 Ibid., p. 65 351 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 36 353 Ibid., p. 37 354 UNICRI 2010, p. 79 355 Ibid., p. 82 356 Ibid., p. 79 357 Ibid., p. 80–81 358 Ibid., p. 93 359 Baye 2012, p. 6 increase in the presence of Nigerians in Sicily in the Palermo region and in the coastal area
between Messina and Catania.360
In Sicily, the majority of the victims work near the sea, in Palermo near Parco della Favorita,
near the Mondello beach and in the Historic Centre near the train station.361 Palermo is one of
the first cities where the victims arriving in Italy stop to work, but also one of the last ones.
Victims that have repaid their debt move there, due to the climate conditions more suitable for
working on the streets, from northern Italy where earnings are higher.362
In the Campania region, the areas most affected by Nigerian prostitution are Naples and
Caserta,363 of which the area of Caserta and above all the Domitian coastal area have more
immigrants from Africa and especially from Edo State in Nigeria.364 In the Domitiana, a long
road that connects Naples to Rome, and in the Castel Volturno region, there are a lot of African
gangs.365 This region is the main operating area of Nigerian criminal gangs in Italy, and they
have fought over it with the local mafia. As a result of this, the Nigerians pay protection money
to the local mafia in order to be able to run their business in the region.366 In the last ten years,
Nigerian prostitutes that used to work in Turin have started to move to Novara and its
surroundings.367 In Venice, Nigerians work at the central train station of Mestre, the Piave
neighbourhood and on the street that goes to Mogliano Veneto and Preganziol and the other
municipalities around Mestre.368 The number of Nigerian prostitutes has increased in the Mestre

There are few studies on victims of human trafficking and prostitutes returning home although
human trafficking as a phenomenon has been researched extensively.370 The sources contain
conflicting information about the reception of victims of human trafficking repatriated to Nigeria,
the attitudes towards them at home and potential threats from traffickers.
Repatriation to Nigeria According to the sources, victims of human trafficking have been repatriated from Europe to Nigeria in the same scanty clothes in which they worked when arrested.371 There are also allegations that the repatriated persons are not permitted to return with their belongings or the money they have earned.372 According to Okojie et al., this contributes to the fact that especially victims repatriated from Italy may often behave in a very wild and uncontrollable manner when repatriated.373 L. Cardinal notes that NAPTIP and non-governmental organisations in Nigeria consider repatriated women angry, troublesome, greedy and hard to deal with.374 There is a 360 UNICRI 2010, p. 10 361 Candia & Garreffa 2011 , p. 12 in: Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 28 362 Candia & Garreffa 2011 , p. 68 in: Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 35 363 UNICRI 2010, p. 82 365 The Independent 27.9.2011 367 UNICRI 2010, p. 79 368 Ibid., p. 75–76 369 Ibid., p. 76 370 Plambech 2014, p. 383 371 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 93; Olateru-Olagbegi & Ikpeme 2006, p. 26 372 Olateru-Olagbegi & Ikpeme 2006, p. 26 373 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 93 374 Cardinal 2006, p. 19 in: Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 66 growing consensus among service providers that the victims would have knowingly and willingly gone abroad to work in prostitution, which makes it easy to allow these women to slip through the cracks.375 According to Plambech, the victims receive no assistance upon their arrival in Lagos and many of the women included in her study had slept in the residential areas near the airport until they were able to return to Benin City.376 Many of the informants in Skilbrei and Tveit's study had heard of women returning to Nigeria who had been arrested upon their arrival in the country and released in exchange for bribes paid by their family.377 Some informants had heard about a case in which one hundred Nigerian women had been repatriated from Italy to Nigeria and all of them were arrested at the airport. They had been released in exchange for bribes paid by their parents. Nevertheless, Skilbrei and Tveit could not verify these statements.378 Still, similar statements about arrests at Nigerian airports upon arrival in the country have been told by Nigerian women in Denmark.379 In addition, it may have happened that women arriving in Nigeria have been requested to present an "AIDS certificate" at the airport, supposed to prove that the woman is not HIV positive. However, no such certificate exists, meaning that it is just the airport police's way to request bribes.380 The IOM has also noted that the detention of Nigerian women at the airport and the corruption of the airport police is common.381 According to a study by Cherti et al., upon arrival, forced returnees from Great Britain have not necessarily met a party that could have recognised signs of human trafficking and offered them appropriate support. Some returnees have been met at Nigerian airports by traffickers rather than support providers, while others have been detained. Some could not contact the organisations that they had been given the contact details for in order to seek support.382 4.2. Attitudes of communities and families toward returnees In addition to arrests, the women being repatriated to Nigeria fear the social consequences of the return. There are both positive expectations and negative attitudes towards people who have returned or been forced to return from Europe. It was the unemployment of the victims and their family members in Nigeria that made the victims leave for Europe to begin with, and it is unlikely that they would find employment when returning to the country. Few victims believe that the employment situation in Nigeria would have changed for the better while they were in Europe.383 Those who return from Europe wealthy are admired in the community for their money,384 and people who have been in the West are generally respected in Benin City.385 Women who have worked as prostitutes in Europe are met with high expectations from their families because they are assumed to be wealthy and they are regarded as socioeconomically advantaged even when it is known how the money has been earned. In Nigeria, the women are expected to take care of several relatives, and consequently, the relatives expect the victims to help them out of poverty.386 Indeed, families continuously demand money from the victims.387 Women who return 375 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 67 376 Plambech 2014, p. 390 377 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 53-54 378 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 54 379 Holm 2005, p. 15 in: Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 55 382 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 9, 73 383 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 50-51 384 The Economist 22.4.2004 385 Science Nordic 20.11.2014 387 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 35 from Europe wealthy do not hide the fact that the money stems from prostitution and becoming wealthy through prostitution has become socially acceptable in Edo State.388 The women are stigmatised only if they return home without money.389 According to Pascoal, when the girls arrive in Nigeria for holidays or return home, Nigerians pretend not to know how the girls have earned their money in Europe.390 People who return or are repatriated to Nigeria without money are received in a significantly different manner than those who return wealthy. Communities may have a widely held negative attitude towards the victims391 and the social stigmatisation is high if the victim returns with health problems instead of wealth.392 The victims may face disappointment, contempt and hostility even from their own family members who are disappointed if the girl has not earned enough or at all in Europe.393 The families may refuse to have them back,394 and consequently, many repatriated victims do not have a place to go in Nigeria.395 The victims may be exposed to psychological and emotional violence from their families,396 and the victims recruited by their relatives or family may be at risk of being exposed to physical domestic violence, too.397 However, there are no known cases where families that disowned their daughter would have exposed the daughter to serious physical violence or killed her.398 According to Skilbrei and Tveit, Nigerians suspect that Nigerian women working in Europe make their living from prostitution,399 and having been in prostitution is typically considered shameful, even when having been trafficked.400 Bowers reports that victims are generally considered immoral and they are believed to have had a choice in selecting their work.401 They are also accused of being greedy.402 This stigma has negative consequences for the rehabilitation of the victim.403 There is a lack of empathy for the victims even among educated Nigerians.404 Negative stories about prostitution in Europe are generally not told in Benin City because they are associated with shame. Women are expected to return home wealthy and people are not interested in the origin of the earnings.405 Anti-trafficking campaigns may be met with resistance and hostility among the population of Edo as many families are actively involved in human trafficking.406 Repatriated victims may be derided and rebuked for being fallen victims of repatriation.407 They may be told to return to Europe and encouraged to find a husband in Italy.408 Many mothers are disappointed with their deported daughters and hardly discuss with them their experiences in Europe.409 On the other hand, some victims have got support from their parents after they have 388 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 6; The Independent 7.4.2011 389 The Independent 7.4.2011 390 Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 35 391 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 71 392 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 71 393 The Economist 22.4.2004; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 35; Landinfo 5/2001, p. 24 394 Aghatise 2002, p. 18; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 35; Landinfo 5/2001, p. 24; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 24 395 Landinfo 5/2001, p. 24; Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 31 396 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 31 398 Ibid., p. 24 399 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 55 401 Bowers 4.9.2012, p.3 402 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 71 403 Bowers 4.9.2012, p.3 405 Science Nordic 20.11.2014; Pascoal 19.12.2012, p. 35 406 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 48 407 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 83 409 Science Nordic 20.11.2014 explained the nature of their work in Europe.410 The study by Cherti et al. reported cases in which parents had forced their children back into their situation of exploitation when they returned to Nigeria. According to Cherti et al., this may have resulted from the parents' disbelief in their children, need for the money they send or fear of repercussions from the traffickers due to unpaid debt.411 A concern for victims with regard to returning to Nigeria is lack of social support networks; the longer the victim has lived in Europe, the likelier this is. Even if the returnees had a family, not everyone wants to stay with them in a village after living for a long time in Europe. Nevertheless, many feel that it is impossible to succeed in Nigeria without a family and believe that "in Nigeria, you are nothing without your family".412 Non-governmental organisations and the assistance offered by them are no substitute for social networks and the organisations cannot look after the returned victims forever. For many, the only option to earn a living, after the assistance provided by the organisations, would be prostitution.413 The victims may not necessarily be able to admit their failure when forced to return penniless and indebted,414 and the failure often causes a severe psychological crisis and suffering. The victims may also suffer from traumas resulting from their experiences in Europe.415 The uncertain socioeconomic situation, lack of opportunities for earning a living and social stigmatisation may cause fear and worry in the victims.416 Many victims of human trafficking have experienced violence when returning to Nigeria. Women returning to Lagos and Benin City have fallen victim to armed robbery, rape and/or physical violence. According to the women, it is "safer to sell sex on the streets of European cities than to have a food stall in Benin City".417 Many inhabitants of Edo experience violence but repatriated women are more vulnerable to it418 as they are assumed to have money, either earned by themselves or received as repatriation compensation.419 Fair-skinned persons, e.g. children of Nigerians and Europeans, may be vulnerable to kidnapping in Benin City.420 In addition, many fear the consequences of juju.421 4.3. Nigeria's anti-trafficking act, Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, entered into force in the entire country on 14 July 2003. On the basis of the act, a national anti-trafficking body, The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) was established on 26 August 2003. The goals of NAPTIP include the prevention of human trafficking, prosecution of traffickers and protection of victims.422 NAPTIP operates nine shelters intended for victims of human trafficking, with a total 410 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 83 411 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 41 412 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 58 414 Aghatise 2002, p. 18 415 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 59 416 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 45; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 59 417 Plambech 2014, p. 393 419 Ibid., p. 395 420 Ibid., footnote 22 421 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 57; Voice of America 26.11.2012 422 NAPTIP fact sheet, p. 5 capacity for 313 victims.423 The shelters are located on in the following cities: Abuja, Lagos, Benin, Uyo, Enugu, Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri and Markudi.424 NAPTIP's tasks include identification and reception of victims, sheltering, counsel ing and training, family tracing, return/repatriation, integration, empowerment and follow-up.425 The victims have an opportunity to receive various forms of vocational training, learn business management skills and benefit trade and financial empowerment. Some victims complete their basic education, and some are also reunited with their families.426 Through the shelters, victims can access legal, medical and psychological services. Victims who require special attention and treatment have an opportunity to receive help from hospitals and clinics cooperating with NAPTIP. NAPTIP's shelters offer short-term care, generally for a maximum of six weeks, but in certain cases, the stay may be extended. NAPTIP collaborates with non-governmental organisations, and victims requiring longer-term shelter and care are directed to the shelters of these NGOs.427 Victims staying at NAPTIP's shelters are not allowed to leave the premises unless accompanied by a chaperone.428 In recent years, NAPTIP has developed an official referral mechanism for victim protection, increased the capacity of its shelters as well as identified and provided services to a larger number of victims.429 However, one of NAPTIP's challenges is inadequate funding.430 Funds allocated to anti-trafficking efforts have not been adequate, especially considering the victims' need for assistance services.431 According to Nwogu, the government does not fund NGO efforts to address human trafficking.432 According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the United States of America Department of State (USDOS), the Nigerian government has yet to implement formal procedures for the return and reintegration of victims of human trafficking who return from abroad.433 While in theory the penalties for human trafficking may be appropriate, in reality many traffickers avoid prison by paying fines.434 The Nigerian government has yet to pass legislation that would restrict the ability of judges to offer fines in lieu of prison time to traffickers.435 According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by USDOS, officials encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking offences.436 According to Skilbrei and Tveit, it is potentially problematic that NAPTIP is in charge of both the rehabilitation of victims and the prosecution of traffickers. The victims do not necessarily have the courage to seek assistance because they are afraid of having to testify against traffickers.437 It is possible that in its operations, NAPTIP prioritises the prosecution of traffickers over the prevention of human trafficking and the rehabilitation of victims.438 On occasion, Nigerian authorities may have detained individuals involved in prostitution or other unlawful acts before they were identified as victims of human trafficking. Once identified, the 423 USDOS 2014, p. 298; NAPTIP 425 NAPTIP fact sheet, p. 6 426 Ibid., p. 7; USDOS 2014, p. 298 427 USDOS 2014, p. 298 429 Ibid., p. 297 430 NAPTIP fact sheet, p. 8 431 Nwogu 2014, p. 8 433 USDOS 2014, p. 297 434 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 11 435 USDOS 2014, p. 297 436 Ibid., p. 298 437 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 65 438 Ibid., p. 66 victims have been released and offered appropriate assistance. According to the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, authorities must ensure that victims are not penalised for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked.439 All victims are eligible to receive funds for training or school tuition, for instance, from NAPTIP's victims' trust fund, which is financed primarily through confiscated assets of traffickers.440 However, victims do not concretely receive money from the fund for themselves, unlike many think; instead, when purchasing supplies for starting a business, for instance, they are accompanied by NGO representatives. Consequently, they cannot immediately pay their loans to their family and friends, as they had promised, which may lead into conflicts with them. It is possible that some victims repatriated to Nigeria have to sell sex while waiting to receive money from the fund.441 4.4. Non-governmental organisations operating in Nigeria
Non-governmental organisations help in the reintegration of victims and conduct awareness
campaigns against human trafficking.442 The non-governmental organisations that assist victims
generally receive weak support and are poorly coordinated, even though some service
providers are highly professional and well informed. 443 The organisations feel unsupported by
NAPTIP and that NAPTIP wishes to dominate and lead all anti-trafficking work and to raise its
own profile.444
The low capacity of the organisations means that support can be unreliable and lack therapeutic
value. In addition, the organisations may not necessarily be able to provide the specialist
support that victims require.445 The organisations lack grants for victims' school tuition,
vocational training or business set up.446 The shelter personnel have limited capacity to provide
psychosocial and rehabilitation support to mentally handicapped victims, and the follow-up of
rehabilitated victims is inadequate.447 Although shelters have bars on the windows, they are
unsafe. It is common knowledge that the buildings house victims of human trafficking, wanted
by traffickers.448
Many organisations presume that the best outcome for victims is family reunification.449
However, the study by Cherti et al. demonstrates that this is often inappropriate as many have
been victimised due to various family situations, such fleeing from abuse or being trafficked by
the family.450 Emphasising the significance of family reunification may jeopardise the recovery of
victims and lead to abuse, violence and re-trafficking.451
There are many organisations assisting victims of human trafficking in Nigeria, the most
prominent of which are:
Girls' Power Initiative (GPI) (Benin City) 439 USDOS 2014, p. 298 440 USDOS 2014, p. 298 441 Plambech 2014, p. 393 442 Okojie 2005, p. 7 443 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 72 444 Ibid., p. 85 445 Ibid., p. 92 446 Nwogu 2014, p. 7 448 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 72 450 Ibid., p. 73 451 Ibid., p. 92 Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW) (Lagos) International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG) (Benin City) Women's Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) (Lagos) Women Trafficking & Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) (Benin City) African Women's Empowerment Guild (AWEG) (Benin City) Idia Renaissance (Benin City) Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria (Lagos).452 COSUDOW has its own shelter in Benin City and cooperates closely with NAPTIP.453 WOTCLEF offers victims handicraft training, advises of the opportunities for micro credits and other small-scale loans and provides education even up to university level.454 In Benin City, the Nigerian Conference of Women Religious runs a shelter for women, Resource Centre for Women, that can accommodate 18 women at a time.455 WOTCLEF has a small rehabilitation centre for minor victims in Abuja, with a maximum capacity for 30 persons, and offices in four other states. The centre faces extreme challenges in terms of space, staff capacities and facilities.456 4.5. Risks related to the return of victims of human trafficking Victims of human trafficking often feel that returning to Nigeria is too dangerous for them for fear of retaliation by traffickers or madames.457 The sources contain conflicting information about whether victims of human trafficking returning to Nigeria are at risk of becoming targets of retaliation by traffickers or madames. 4.5.1. Risk-free return Reverends Benedict Ejeh and Victor Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) do not consider that persecution of victims of human trafficking occurs in Nigeria. According to them, if retaliation takes place in Nigeria, it has to occur in a very subdued manner.458 Victims of human trafficking are not victims of violent persecution or killings by traffickers in Nigeria.459 None of the victims assisted by Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun's organisation has expressed fear of reprisals from traffickers or received threats from them,460 and Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun have no records from the media of violent reprisals or killings of victims. On the other hand, the Danish Immigration Service considers it possible that the media in Nigeria might not record such incidents as the media has shown no particular interest in human trafficking. If the family of the victim is responsible for violence, it hardly is reported anywhere. Many killings and kidnappings are never subject to proper investigation and therefore the perpetrators and circumstances of these crimes are often unknown to the public. On the other hand, even if these incidents were reported, the perpetrators and motives are not necessarily known. However, Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) believe that the media would report serious reprisals if they occurred.461 452 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 7 (more detailed information about these organisations can be found in the report) 453 Ibid., p. 38 454 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 43-44 455 Bonetti 2011, p. 271 456 Nwogu 2014, p. 8 457 Aghatise 2002, p. 18; Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 57-58 458 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 28 According to two women interviewed by Plambech in her study, traffickers do not need to resort to violence to collect unpaid debt from women deported from Europe as they have so many women going to Europe.462 Sister Florence (COSUDOW) has no information as to whether traffickers have persecuted or killed victims in Nigeria. The main objective of traffickers is to earn money. Consequently, they prefer to send the victim back to Europe instead of killing or permanently injuring her, and re-trafficking is very common.463 According to information provided by Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office), threats from traffickers have never resulted in the loss of life of victims since 2003. He states that traffickers are now aware of the law on human trafficking and NAPTIP's capacity to investigate crimes and prosecute traffickers. 464 According to Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office), NAPTIP has no information as to whether a trafficker has been capable of persecuting a victim who has cooperated with authorities and testified in courts abroad.465 Nevertheless, Lily N. Oguejiofor (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) believes that NAPTIP has the capacity to conduct security risk assessment for victims and their relatives.466 Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) does not believe that victims who have testified against their traffickers abroad are at risk although he considers the network of traffickers in Nigeria to be strong.467 According to Morka and Barrister Abiodun (NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office), it would be impossible for a madame who is being investigated or imprisoned in Europe to perform acts of reprisal against victims as no trafficker would take such a risk to retaliate against a victim, out of fear of being exposed and imprisoned. Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) states that the whole chain of traffickers is destroyed if the madame abroad is convicted.468 Local traffickers in Nigeria do not occupy a strong position in society and they cannot do much else than recruit new victims.469 According to Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria), local traffickers are not in a position to persecute victims. These local traffickers are not necessarily fully loyal to madames or traffickers abroad. Traffickers have no interest in being exposed and imprisoned for acts of revenge on behalf of a madame or trafficker living abroad.470 According to Sister Florence (COSUDOW), traffickers do not have a strong network in Nigeria and they normally keep a low profile. Consequently, they do not take the risk of being exposed in order to take revenge against their victims who testify against them.471 Sister Florence (COSUDOW) states that the remaining debt is much more relevant to the victim's security in Nigeria than if the victim testifies against her trafficker in court.472 According to Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria), the traffickers are aware that the victims rarely return to Nigeria voluntarily and thus they consider it unlikely that traffickers would try to claim the debt by the use of threats of violence. The victim is at risk of being re-trafficked if she returns to Nigeria voluntarily before paying her debt.473 462 Plambech 2014, p. 395 463 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 26 464 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 26 465 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 28 466 Ibid., p. 34 467 Ibid., p. 26 468 Ibid., p. 29 469 Ibid., p. 20 470 Ibid., p. 20 471 Ibid., p. 21 472 Ibid., p. 25 473 Ibid., p. 23
4.5.2. High-risk return
According to the study by Cherti et al., the return to Nigeria is often high risk for the victims, and they are exposed to the risk of violence or re-trafficking. The close relationship between the victims and their exploiters appears to cause specific difficulties for the victims, particularly if there is still debt remaining.474 The victims are afraid of returning to Nigeria because of the juju oath they have sworn and the debt to the trafficker.475 Many of the women interviewed by Skilbrei and Tveit fear some sort of punishment or revenge from traffickers if they return to Nigeria before paying back their debt.476 Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) is aware of cases where traffickers have tried to intimidate victims.477 According to Olateru-Olagbegi's (WOCON) experience, victims have been exposed to reprisals from traffickers in Nigeria due to the remaining debt or their testifying in court.478 In addition, there are examples of disappearances of victims in Nigeria.479 Traffickers may also employ local criminals to threaten or physically abuse victims or their families in Nigeria if the victims are not cooperative.480 According to Grace Osakue (GPI), traffickers and madames have a better opportunity to take revenge against a victim if she returns to Nigeria.481 Jane Osagie (IRRRAG) considers repatriated victims vulnerable as traffickers will persecute them if they have not paid their debt, and the victims are persecuted in various ways.482 According to Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria), unpaid debt is more risky for returning victims than testifying against traffickers.483 Carol N. Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) considers it possible that a juju priest or an agent of the trafficker would try to collect the unpaid debt from the victim's family.484 According to Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON), although traffickers fear exposure if they retaliate against their victims who have cooperated with the authorities, they nevertheless perform acts of retaliation in order to deter other victims from doing the same.485 Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) explains that traffickers are using a range of reprisals in their effort to control victims or their relatives. Houses belonging to the victims or their relatives have been burned, they have been physically assaulted and killed, relatives have been kidnapped and intimidated, and the police have carried out illegal arrests.486 Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) believes that NAPTIP is not aware of these cases because no-one informs the agency about them.487 Interviewees in the study by Cherti et al. as well as their families had also been threatened, their houses had been burned and in some cases the victims' family members had been kil ed.488 According to NAPTIP and Rev. Benedict Ejeh and Victor Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria), reprisals might take place in Europe, too, where they consider the 474 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 71 475 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 23, 26 476 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 57–58 477 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 29 480 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 108 481 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 28 482 Ibid., p. 26 484 Ibid., p. 24 485 Ibid., p. 29 486 Ibid., p. 26, 29, 33 487 Ibid., p. 29 488 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 71 victims to be more at risk than in Nigeria when testifying against their traffickers or madames.489
Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) also considers the risk of reprisals greater abroad than in Nigeria,
but, on the other hand, the judicial systems in European countries offer better access to justice
than the judicial system in Nigeria.490
According to Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON), victims act as witnesses against a madame or a
trafficker only if the madame or the trafficker is not a relative and if they in some way or another
have cheated the victim.491 Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) states that a victim's family tie
to the trafficker may protect the victim from violence and killing even if she testifies against the

4.5.3. Possibility of obtaining protection
According to Sister Florence (COSUDOW), even if the debt has not been fully repaid, the victim will always be able to obtain protection from reprisals by traffickers in Nigeria.493 Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) consider that the Nigerian police (National Police Force, NPF) have the capacity to protect victims from traffickers. On the other hand, there is no guarantee of protection as the NPF suffers from corruption.494 According to Sister Florence (COSUDOW) and Barrister Abiodun (NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office), the Anti-Human Trafficking Police Unit is not infected by corruption.495 Roland Chigozie (Idia Renaissance) states that some people in Nigeria do not go to the police to seek legal redress because the police are considered corrupt and any trafficker could bribe the police and avoid possible prosecution.496 Up to 90% of the families in which one of the family members has been trafficked do not call on the police or go to court but will do their utmost to pay the debt. They may even sell their land and other property.497 Several respondents in the study by Cherti et al. reported incidents of indifference or even active complicity with traffickers on the part of the authorities when the respondents tried to seek help from the police.498 It is also alleged that corrupt police officers help to harass relations of victims to ensure compliance and the repayment of the debt.499 4.5.4. Difficulty in obtaining protection Grace Osakue (GPI) does not believe that any victim who has given evidence against their traffickers abroad would be able to obtain sufficient protection against reprisals by traffickers in Nigeria. According to her, the traffickers are desperate to get hold of the money they have invested in victims and the victims are made to pay the remaining debt. She states that if a victim gives evidence against her traffickers, she will be at serious risk of persecution if she returns to Nigeria. The victim may be punished or even killed. However, there is no evidence that victims who have given evidence abroad or in Nigeria have been killed. In general, victims who have returned are very unsafe in Nigeria and those who have testified in local courts are in 489 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 28 490 Ibid., p. 29 491 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 29 492 Ibid., p. 32 493 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 25 494 Ibid., p. 18 495 Ibid., p. 19 497 Ibid., p. 24 498 Cherti et al. 1/2013, p. 11 499 Okojie et al. 2003, p. 66 real danger.500 The victims are not convinced that the prosecution of traffickers would help in Nigeria because even if they were imprisoned, they would not be there for long.501 The law does not make provision for the protection of victims and their families, which is why it is difficult to get witnesses to trials.502 In the view of Olawale Fapohunda (Legal Resources Consortium, Nigeria), interviewed by Denmark in 2008, the resources allocated to NAPTIP and NPF are not sufficient for providing victims of human trafficking with protection that meets international standards,503 even if they are genuine in their fight against human trafficking.504 According to Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON), NAPTIP is committed to assisting victims but it lacks personnel and its personnel lack training. Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) expresses doubt as to whether NAPTIP is capable of protecting victims against traffickers, due to lack of resources and technical know-how.505 Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) does not consider it possible that all victims who need assistance would receive it as there are too many victims compared to the resources available.506 Babandede (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) believes that the existence of this view among NGOs is due the fact that NGOs are competing for funds and they may believe that they can have easier access to funding by representing NAPTIP as not being able to offer sufficient protection.507 The situation may have improved after the publication of the report. However, according to the Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 by USDOS, the reality is that many victims returning from abroad are still not afforded proper rehabilitation and social integration.508 According to an Italian inspector of police and a consultant who have visited Edo State several times for collaboration, working with NAPTIP and the Nigerian police is frustrating. They report that some police officers have not been willing to do anything to promote cooperation (to exchange information or to develop collaboration, for instance).509 Victims have also been told that it would be better if they just paid their debt.510 4.6. Relocation in Nigeria In southern Nigeria, anyone who has his or her origin in the northern part of Nigeria is called "stranger", and in many Nigerian cities, there are special areas for people coming from elsewhere, known as "Sabongari" (literally meaning "the place for strangers").511 Nigerian communities are known to consider that people who are not original inhabitants of the area or their offspring are not eligible to entitlements such as jobs or political positions. This explains why people identify strongly with and feel safer in their home states.512 According to Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON), it would be difficult for a victim repatriated to Nigeria to relocate to a location other than where she is originally from, in order to avoid potential reprisals from traffickers.513 In the new place of residence, the victim might not have no social 500 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 27-28 501 Skilbrei & Tveit 2007, p. 57–58 502 Olateru-Olagbegi & Ikpeme 2006, p. 25 503 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 35 505 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 35 506 Ibid., p. 36 507 Ibid., p. 40 508 USDOS 2014, p. 298 509 Baye 2012, p. 33 510 Ibid., p. 34 511 Danish Immigration Service 4/2008, p. 51 networks or members of her ethnic group to support her, and she might not know the local language and be able sustain a livelihood.514 For their part, Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) and Grace Osakue (GPI) believe that victims who feel threatened can relocate to anywhere in Nigeria but they would require economic support for this. According to De Cataldo (IOM515), too, reintegration and relocation within the country are possible for victims of human trafficking.516 4.7. Return to Europe
Many of the victims repatriated to Nigeria may try to return to Europe as soon as possible. They
may be pressured or forced to this by the trafficker or the madame, to whom they perhaps have
not yet fully repaid their debt517, or by their family, disappointed with the daughter not being able
to fulfil their expectations of becoming wealthy.518 Even victims who have endured hardships
want to return to Europe to fulfil their families' expectations.519 Due to victims lacking the
motivation to return to Nigeria, their rehabilitation is challenging.520 Many of the women
repatriated to Nigeria that Peano interviewed in her study re-negotiated their passage to Europe
under the same conditions and did so repeatedly.521 The close relationship between the victims'
families or communities and traffickers may lead to the risk of being re-trafficked even without
the victim herself being willing to leave.522
Some victims may at first try to resettle in Nigeria, but if they find life there to be unsatisfactory,
they may try to migrate to Europe again.523 In connection with this migration, victims may again
be exploited and accumulate more debt.524 On the other hand, according to some women, the
second migration to Europe may be easier as the customs of the destination country have
already become familiar and the women are not as vulnerable as during their first migration.525


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Avepa-19 06 final.indd

Ovariectomía laparoscópica en 20 perras Se realiza la ovariectomía laparoscópica en 20 perras elegidas al azar. Se evalúa la técnica empleada así como complicaciones a corto plazo. Se valora positiva-mente el uso de instrumental bipolar para su realización. Palabras clave: ovariectomía, laparoscopia, perra, coagulación bipolar.Clin. Vet. Peq. Anim, 28 (2): 129-134, 2008