A chance for a better life ends in prostitution

Have you been to Nigeria lately? Share any experiences of burgelaries, armed robberies, fraud, etc.

A chance for a better life ends in prostitution

Postby Richard Akindele » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:15 am

Many Nigerian girls who arrive in the Netherlands end up in Italy.

Gift (27) from Nigeria wanted a better life for herself. Arrived in the Netherlands, she found herself forced into prostitution. This is her story.

"My dad died after a car accident when I was three months old. My family was rich when my dad was still alive. He worked for Coca-Cola and he had a car. If you have a car you are considered a rich man in Nigeria. We lived in Benin City, the capital of Edo state.

"After my father's death his family took away his car and all his possessions. My mom got nothing. When I was seven I moved into my maternal grandmother's house in Ishan, where my parents were born. It meant one less mouth to feed for my mother. I worked hard on the land: pulling weeds, harvesting, fetching water from the river, gathering wood for the fire on the mountain.

"I went to school and I sang in church. My grandmother preferred me to do practical stuff but she didn't hold me back. I didn't dream of making my living as a singer. A poor Nigerian girl doesn't dream that big. The first semester my grandmother paid the school fees. After that she couldn't afford it anymore.

"I went back to Benin City. My mother was making ends meet by making lunches for workers. I helped her buy groceries and cook. We ate what was left. I often went to bed with an empty stomach.

"I was 18 when Peter, a small Nigerian man, approached me in the street. He told me about a Nigerian man he knew who lived in the Netherlands. I had no idea where that was.

"This friend was looking for an au pair girl. I would be making 10,000 Nigerian naira per month. That's 60 euros. But first I would have to pay back the trip: 10,000 dollars. After that I would be able to send money back to my family.

"I said yes almost immediately. I didn't want to live like my mother who I saw toiling over the cooking fire everyday and still go to bed hungry. I felt this was my chance for a better life.

"We left by bus to Lagos. That was late February 2000. We stayed in a small hotel until a man came to get us with a car. He brought us via Togo to Ivory Coast. From there we would fly to Europe. Peter got me a fake passport with the picture of some other girl. We flew to Paris with Air Afrique. I put the passport in the seat in front of me. I chewed the page with the name and the picture until you could no longer read it.

"I was scared and I felt sick. I had no idea what was going to happen next. Peter had told me: 'As soon as you get out of the plane you will be arrested by men in uniform. Stay calm. They will take you to a house. Someone will come for you there.'

"At the airport in Paris it happened exactly like Peter had said. I was arrested. Interrogated. And interrogated again.

"James, the one I was supposed to au pair for, called me at the hotel where the French police had put me up. He told me to wait at a railway station. His wife Mary came to get me. She was very nice. She had a 7-month-old little girl with her. I was supposed to take care of her. It never occurred to me that I would be asked to be anything other than that.

"They lived in Brabant [a province in the south of the Netherlands]. Mary asked if I was having my period. Then she brought a plastic container. She cut my nails and put them in the container. She cut of tufts of my hair, my underarm hair, my pubic hair and put those in the container. Some menstrual blood went in there too. Then Mary said that I had to behave and I shouldn't run away. I had to repeat after her. I just thought: Why would I run away? I'm here to take care of your daughter.

"I knew this was voodoo. If you're from Nigeria you know this stuff. I believe that God is more powerful than voodoo. But I was a scared anyway. They say that if you break the oath you get very sick and die.

"For two weeks I took care of the baby. Then I was sold for 12,000 dollars to Tina, a Nigerian madam in Italy. James took me to Ferrara [in the north of Italy]. On the way he told me I was going to work in prostitution. He said I didn't have a choice. My debt was 50,000 dollars.

"I went to work that same night. The price depended on what the customer wanted but I wasn't supposed to ask less than 30 dollars, my madam said. I made between 400 and a 1,000 dollar per night. If I came home with less than 400 they would beat me. I never fought back.

"My customers were sometimes friendly. Other times they were business-like. Or cruel. Once someone put a gun to my head. I had to give him the all the money I had made that night. I never asked a customer to help me. I didn't trust anyone. If I ran away my madam would have killed me.

"I had to work every day. Whether I was sick, having my period or tired. Twice I got pregnant. They gave me a whiskey bottle and told me to drink it. Then the foetus would come out. The second time the foetus wouldn't come out. It started rotting inside me. Madam took me to a hospital in Rome where they gave me a curettage. I had to pay for it myself. Plus a 5000 dollars fine because I got pregnant. All I could do was cry.

"Another girl finally managed to call James. She told him I wasn't doing so well. This is how I ended up in Brabant again.

"Shortly after that James set me up with a new job in Germany. A hotel in Leipzig. There were other girls working in the hotel. I had my own room. I was supposed to sit on a chair in the corridor outside my room. The customers would walk past the girls. Guards watched us through security cameras. In the end I didn't feel anything anymore. The guards noticed that I wasn't responding to the customers anymore. They told James.

"He threatened to beat me up if I didn't work. For the first time my disgust was bigger than my fear. I told the guards I was going out to buy condoms. As soon as I was outside I just ran. After my escape I got on a train to the Netherlands. Why the Netherlands? I didn't know anyone there. I didn't speak the language. For months I just wandered through the cities - Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Dordrecht.

"Someone advised me to ask for asylum which I did in September 2002. My request was denied. You're not a refugee, they said, you're a victim of human trafficking. I told my story to the police but I was afraid to file a complaint. I didn't file a complaint until May 2003. My temporary residence permit was extended for the duration of the trial. In the end they were all acquitted of human trafficking. I found this impossible to understand.

"I had to go back to Nigeria. My lawyer protested against my deportation again and again. In the summer of 2006 I finally got my permanent residence permit. I took an integration course. Now I plan to go back to school.

"I get benefits. After I pay the rent I have 600 euros left every month. I have debts because I called Nigeria too often. I miss my family terribly.

"Things are good here in the Netherlands. But I am lonely. Once every three months I send 60 euros to my mother. My greatest wish is to one day see my mother again."
Richard Akindele
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Postby lexdino » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:31 am

she was lucky. but this phrase: "'As soon as you get out of the plane you will be arrested by men in uniform. Stay calm. They will take you to a house. Someone will come for you there.'" those men in uniform, are they police or any related parastatal? because it seems as if they too are in cognisance with the human traffickers :?
lexdino
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Postby Richard Akindele » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:00 am

lexdino wrote:but this phrase: "'As soon as you get out of the plane you will be arrested by men in uniform. Stay calm. They will take you to a house. Someone will come for you there.'" those men in uniform, are they police or any related parastatal? because it seems as if they too are in cognisance with the human traffickers :?


Everything has a price, including getting law enforcement agents to look the other way. Grease their palms, and you're home free. Italy is one of the most corrupt places, when it comes to the authorities and human-trafficking.

lexdino wrote:she was lucky.


Was she really? I would've thought enduring this kind of ordeal would evoke a degree of sympathy.
Richard Akindele
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1120
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:33 pm
Location: USA

Postby lexdino » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:21 am

lexdino wrote:she was lucky.


Admin wrote:Was she really? I would've thought enduring this kind of ordeal would evoke a degree of sympathy.


I didnt meant it that way, i meant to say that she was lucky that she was able to escape the ordeal and now being able to attend a school and also send her mother at home some money, afterall its not everyone that can pass through some those of those experience she had alive.
So, i did not mean to say maybe "it serves her right".
lexdino
Nairaland Junior
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:13 pm
Location: Benin-City, Nigeria


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