Deutsche Welle has made investigation into how the Nigerian girls became [email protected] Xx:’ slave in Russia.
Blessing Osakwe has met a woman in her hometown in the south of Nigeria, who told her that there was work for young lady in Russia.
Osakwe was promised to receive a job in a supermarket, and that it would take her only five or six months to earn the money to repay the costs of the visa and the trip. The woman said that after paying back the $40,000, the girl could keep all the money she made.
Nigerian girl said her parents are very poor and that the idea of going to Russia to assist her family and to save money for her education appealed to her and she accepted the proposition.
While girl arrived to Russia Osakwe discovered everything the woman had said was a lie.
Instead of the supermarket job, she was forced to work as a prostitute.
Osakwe was driven around Moscow to have [email protected] Xx:’ with men.
Once, the girl was taken to a flat where one man was seemingly waiting for her. However, later she discovered that there were eight men. The girl was made to sleep with all of them, but rejected to have [email protected] Xx:’ without a condom. The men took back the money they had paid and beat and battered her, threw her from the fourth floor of the building.
Osakwe broke her hip when she hit the ground; he now cannot walk properly and is confined to a wheelchair.
Kenny Kehinde, who works with several Moscow NGOs focused on preventing human trafficking, said that around 2,000-3,000 Nigerian girls – many from poor, remote villages – are brought to Russia every year for [email protected] Xx:’ work.
“This is international modern-day slavery, where the girls are brought here with the help of some Russian government officials, some Nigerian authorities and so-called ‘madams’ [pimps] who exploit these girls for [email protected] Xx:’ in Russia,” he said.
According to him, most of the girls come to Russia on student visas.
Such visas are not easy to obtain as universities must provide supporting material for the applications.
“Ten years ago, it was not such a huge problem as this. Those involved are an international cartel. On a daily basis they are growing and making money out of it,” said Usman Gafai, head of mission at the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow.
Andrew Bogrand of the NGO Democracy International, said that Russia has not shown a full commitment to solve the problem.
“Prosecution, although existent, is very limited. More alarming, according to Russia’s few women’s rights NGOs, is the almost complete lack of shelter space for women who are victims of [email protected] Xx:’ trafficking or domestic violence.
“Corruption and trafficking are inextricably linked – and Russia fares poorly in most corruption indexes,” he said. “As long as the state continues to turn a blind eye to the problem of corruption, trafficking will flourish.”
Blessing Osakwe luckily returned home and hopes to resume her studies. But the time she spent in Russia has changed her life forever.
She writes warning to Nigerian girls: “Stay back home, learn to work. Even though the pay is small, it is much better than coming here to suffer or lose your life.”
Watch her interview below:
Nigeria passed a law in 2003 barring the trafficking in persons and established the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
However, women and children continue to be transferred within, across and beyond the country for forced labor and [email protected] Xx:’ual or physical exploitation.