Madams have dominated the Nigerian sex trade in Italy for years, thanks to an extensive network of women who are often ordered on demand from their homeland. Madams, according to accounts, are often rude and violent, causing physical and psychological harm to the women they sell.

Promises made before leaving Nigeria during voodoo and juju ceremonies have left the ladies financially and psychologically bound to their madams. Nigerian criminals have established up business in Turin, Palermo, and Castel Volturo, among other Italian cities. In 2018, the Nigerian mafia is said to have smuggled €75 million from Italy to Nigeria, mainly via prostitution and drugs trafficking. Enablers are used to entice young girls into sex trafficking, and they play a critical role in getting these women engaged.

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Women made up the majority of Nigerians who arrived in Italy in 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration. Around 80% of female migrants in Nigeria, many of whom are children, are at risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Nigeria’s dismal economic prospects have caused many individuals to flee the nation. Some are lured to Europe by the promise of a job that turns out to be sex work once they arrive. This sex work is utilized to pay off a debt of tens of thousands of Euros accumulated during their vacation to Italy. On the journey, some are enslaved by sex traffickers. Parents may send their daughters to Europe willingly, knowing that they would be engaged in the sex trade.

Previously, fake passports were used to fly Nigerian women to the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. Sex traffickers have been compelled to use unconventional routes as a result of law enforcement crackdowns. Before arriving in Italy, many Nigerian women are sold and coerced into sex slavery.

Because the women are imprisoned in many countries en route to Italy, the journey may take years. Despite the violence and risks, women have not been deterred from starting on this journey. To carry out their illegal activities in Italy, Nigerian gangs need the permission of the Sicilian mafia. The Italian mafia, which is short on street members, relies on the Nigerian mafia for labor.

From recruiting children and women to arranging departure and passage to Italy, sex trafficking from Nigeria is an international crime. The chain of command involves a range of nationalities and regions. Nigerian law enforcement officials are reported to often work with human traffickers, providing them with foreign documents and facilitating border crossings. They may also be reluctant to investigate such crimes unless bribes are offered.

The Presence of The Nigerian Mafia In Italy Benefits Criminal Networks In Both Nations

Human trafficking in and out of Nigeria is a significant concern in Benin City, Edo State. The minimum sentence for sex and labor trafficking crimes is five years in prison and a fine of $1 million (US$2 625). This law lays the groundwork for effective criminal justice reform. Its success, however, requires more than simply law enforcement.Prostitution All around Europe

Furthermore, despite the fact that they are the ones  allegedly  enticing young girls with false promises, the role of intermediaries (‘enablers’) between Nigeria and Europe is mostly recognized and unappreciated. Here, transnational issues prevail, requiring regional criminal justice efforts.

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Italian Police bust two Nigerian mafia gangs selling women into slavery

Reversing the trend will need more than a response focused on the criminal justice system, as previously stated. Religious and cultural beliefs are still powerful. Traffickers simply ignored the Oba’s order to abolish juju ceremonies, according to Nosakhare Erhunmwunsee, a preacher from Benin City who lived in Turin from 2003 to 2012. They see this as a normal business, with the women they bring to Europe acting as an income source. So, the rituals continue. Prostitution All around Europe

The role of religious and traditional leaders in spreading accurate information is critical. Refusing to hold such ceremonies will contribute to a shift in public perception of middlemen’s deceptive promises.

Because this is a worldwide and networked crime, all parties involved must work together. Religious leaders, police, and communities, as well as state institutions and civil society organizations like the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), all play important roles in combating trafficking, dismantling networks, and reintegrating returning women from Italy. Prostitution All around Europe

Finally, the attraction of Europe continues to attract young women who are willing to take considerable risks. To reverse this tendency, attractive home-grown candidates must be recruited. These include opportunities for Nigerians in terms of education and employment, as well as access to finance for micro, small, and medium-sized companies. These enticements may be used by governments to improve domestic prospects.

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