News / Africa

Enslaved in France, Nigerian Woman Fights Back

Nigerian Woman Escapes Human Traffickersi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Heather Murdock
November 29, 2012 8:52 PM
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

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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid