A Nigerian victim of human trafficking has narrated the harrowing ordeal they suffered in the hands of their principals.
The victim, whose name was not revealed, shared her story in Benin City, Edo State during a Roundtable on Migration and Human Trafficking organised by the Nigerian Senate.
The victim who is now married and expecting a baby with her husband stated that she was 19 when she was trafficked from Edo State to Russia and forced into prostitution for two years.
She said: “They told me I was going into prostitution for six months.
“I was going there to make money to further my education.
“We had to sleep with different kinds of men. It was on the street. We were standing on the road.
“She (my madam) would say no (we can’t stop work), there is a tissue she used to give to us to block it (the menstruation). She does not allow us to stay at home.
“We paid our madam for food, clothes, and also contributed money for the house rent. We bought the condoms ourselves.”
On the number of clients and money she made in a day, the victim said: “It depends…. Sometimes, six, seven or eight clients.
“1,000 rubles per client (about 6,120 naira). For an entire day, you could make 10,000 rubles, if you are lucky you could make 15, 000.”
She narrated how she was often assaulted by men and also arrested and detained for days by the police.
“I was beaten up and raped by four men. They even urinated on me when I asked them to pay me.
“I didn’t care to report to the Russian authorities that I was raped. Apart from the fact that I didn’t have a proof, I thought they won’t believe me since I was a prostitute.”
The victim said she eventually decided to quit prostitution, and was able to escape to Nigeria without her international passport through the help of a Nigerian she identified as “Mr. Ken”.
But before then she was able to pay her “madam” $15,000 out of the $50,000 she was expected to pay in order to buy back her freedom in Russia.
Reacting to the confession, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, said at the roundtable that “4000 to 6000 times, some Nigerian girls are forced to have sex with strangers for the rest of their lives.”
The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, thanked the victims for sharing their experiences which he said would help the government take steps towards tackling human trafficking.
Saraki said the Senate was ‘losing sleep’ over irregular migration and human trafficking in the country, and that as representatives of the people, “they are determined to tackle the problem.”
He said, “Nigeria currently ranks 23 on the Global Slavery Index of 167 countries with the highest number of slaves.
“Human trafficking is third in the ignoble hierarchy of the commonly occurring crimes in Nigeria, according to UNESCO.
“Nigeria accounts for the world’s highest number of irregular migrants going through the Agadez Route. Our citizens represent the fifth largest number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.
“The number of Nigerian females arriving in Italy alone increased 600-fold in just three years. 10,000 Nigerians are estimated to have lost their lives on the perilous journey in five months of last year alone.
“We have seen the bleak images of coffins of 26 Nigerian girls, who were laid to rest in Italy last November. This is what brings us today to ancient Benin.”