News / Africa

Enslaved in France, Nigerian Woman Fights Back

Nigerian Woman Escapes Human Traffickersi
|| 0:00:00
X
Heather Murdock
November 29, 2012
This is the story of a young Nigerian woman who survived weeks in the desert on her way to what she thought would be a new life in Europe. When she got to France, she did not find the job she was promised. Instead, she received a pair of high heeled shoes, a revealing dress and orders to work the streets. Here is how she fought back. Heather Murdock reports for VOA from Edo State in Nigeria.

Nigerian Woman Escapes Human Traffickers

Related Articles

TEXT SIZE - +
Heather Murdock
In part one of VOA's series on Nigerian sex trafficking, we met Amaka Chinye, a 22-year-old who survived weeks in the desert en route to her new life in Europe only to be forced into prostitution when she arrived.  This is the story of how she fought back. 

When she finally made it to Tripoli, Libya,  Amaka Chinye was directed to a boat that crossed the Mediterranean Sea and brought her to a camp in Italy.

There, she was handed to another person, one in the chain of people connecting the recruiter in Nigeria who convinced her to go to her future "madam" in France.

“I was there when the lady came and she was asking for my name.  My name is Amaka.  So she was asking for me, she wanted to see me.  She brought a lawyer to collect me, so that is how they took me to France," she said. 

Debt trap

When she got to France, she learned that she owed the madam 62,000 Euro - that’s over $80,000 - and her only job prospect was sex work.  The madam had a party for two young women who were leaving.  She told Amaka that life is good for her "girls."

"She was like doing send off.  It was like a celebration.  She was cooking.  Jubilating," said Amaka. "She introduced those two girls to me.  ‘You can see, these are my girls.  They just finished paying me.  Do you know how much they have in their accounts?  Do you know they have a house in Nigeria?’” 

After a month of working the streets day and night paying off her debt at about $500 a week, Amaka realized she could never make all that money.  She realized that she had essentially become a slave. 

"So from there we have to involve the police.  Because there’s no way I can pay 62,000 Euro.  I don’t have a job there," she said. 

Traffickers count on girls to be afraid to run away because they swear a "juju" oath that many believe has magical powers.  Before she left Nigeria, Amaka swore she would obey and pay the madam, or face death.

Amaka went to the police anyway.  She was immediately detained and questioned and she told them everything. 

"They arrested the husband first before they arrested her.  That was [when] they booked the flight.  And when we were coming back I was not the only person inside the flight that they were taking back, there were up to 14 girls, they were all girls that they were taking back," she recalled.

Poor, but glad to be back

A student at Nigeria's Benin University in Benin City walks past a billboard encouraging women to fight prostitution and human trafficking.A student at Nigeria's Benin University in Benin City walks past a billboard encouraging women to fight prostitution and human trafficking.
x
A student at Nigeria's Benin University in Benin City walks past a billboard encouraging women to fight prostitution and human trafficking.
A student at Nigeria's Benin University in Benin City walks past a billboard encouraging women to fight prostitution and human trafficking.
When she got home, Amaka began to pick up the pieces of the life she had left.  She once ran a small shop, but she couldn’t afford to stock it, so she bought some clothes to hock in the market.

At a lively community center in Benin City, she says she’s glad to be back, even if she is now even poorer than she was when she left. 

But, I ask, is she afraid to be killed by the juju spell?

“They said I’m going to die if I did not pay.  I should die.  But I’ve been waiting for death and death did not come. I know it will not come.   I am very much stronger than juju," Amaka said.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MacGregory Eromomene from: Benin City,Edo State.
November 29, 2012 5:42 AM
No responsible government will allow private interest to hold hostage against the collective interest of the people. It is becoming apparent that those in power seem more inclined to serving individual interests than protecting our collective treasures.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid