The Cable News Network (CNN), has exposed how some ladies are trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery.
Nadège was one of these women before she managed to escape.
Nadège says she was trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery, at €20 ($23) per client, to pay off a colossal debt to a female Nigerian pimp known as a “madam.”
A madam she met in Lagos promised her a better life in Europe, working as a waitress. “I was told it was like a paradise,” Nadège tells CNN. “But getting here, it was like from frying pan to fire.”
Before leaving, the madam made Nadège swear an oath at a “juju” temple with a native doctor of Ayelala — a traditional belief system from southern Nigeria.
Nadège swore to repay her madam for sending her to Europe, and to never speak of her oath, or her debt, to anyone.
A week after arriving in France with a fake passport her madam gave her, Nadège was sent to work in Bois de Vincennes park, which is on the outskirts of eastern Paris, and has also been part-commandeered by human traffickers.
Her madam gave her a €100 daily target and took away her passport and all her earnings, except money for food and rent.
“Sometimes you work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the morning, maybe get home by 8 a.m.,” she says.
She would start work again, elsewhere, from 3 p.m., she says. “Until 6 p.m., then you have to go to your normal place of work.”
Most of the Nigerian women working in the park are “slaves,” she says. “Some are free, but the prostitution has eaten deep into them.”
Nadège said she cut ties with her madam when she got pregnant a year later and decided to keep her baby.
Narrating her escape, she said: “I was waiting patiently for the death or the madness,” she says. “I was like… ‘Should I go over to the street and start working? Should I abort my baby?'”
Nadège discouraged other young ladies against journeying to Europe in search of greener pastures saying: “It’s not easy to be transported to Europe just like a bag of fruit and sold for men to eat. Don’t even think of it.”
Though she has refugee status and a full-time job and has begun learning French, Nadège still feels her life is ruined. The birth of her son, however, has given her a new purpose.
“No matter what I am tomorrow, I’m still going to be useless. Because I can’t proudly say my story. I can’t proudly tell the world who I am.” Her voice falters. “Whatever I’m doing right now, I’m doing it for my son.”
“When I had my documents the first thing that came to my mind was: ‘Thank God I can now give my son a good life,'” she says.
“He’s already teaching me… he speaks French now. And he’s so super smart. When I see him sometimes, I forget my past — I forget myself.”
The International Organization for Migration says the number of potential victims of sex trafficking arriving by boat in Italy has increased by almost 600% in the past three years, and 80% of them are Nigerian.
In March, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional leader of the Edo people, declared a curse on human traffickers and removed the curses on those that had been trafficked under a juju oath.
Vanessa Simoni, of LABF, says the women now “feel less guilty to break the oath” as “they have the approval of their community.”