Every year, thousands of people from all over the world come to Malaysia looking for opportunities and a brand new life. Unfortunately, for these Nigerian women, things did not go as planned.
According to a report by FMT, at least 20,000 women and girls have been abducted by human traffickers from Nigeria and sent to Mali. The girls were tricked as the traffickers told them that they would be taken to Malaysia where they would have jobs in hospitality. However, they were transported to Southern Mali, where they were stranded and forced to be prostitutes.
The Director-General of the Nigerian NAPTIP (National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons), Julie Okah-Donli, said an investigative team from NAPTIP and the IOM (International Organization for Migration) had exposed the extent of the operation in southern Mali when they visited last month (December 2018).
With locals informing the operatives, they learned that there were more than 200 sites scattered across southern Mali. In each site, the girls were kept in shacks in numbers of 100 to 150. Which means there are more than 20,000 women who fell victim to these traffickers!
These women were kept essentially as sex slaves and most of them are aged between 16 and 30.
“They are held in horrible, slave-like conditions,” said Okah-Donli in a telephone interview. “They can’t escape because they are kept in remote locations, like deep in forests.”
Thousands of women and girls are taken from Nigeria each year, the most populous country in Africa, where 70% of the 190 million inhabitants live on less than two dollars (approx. RM8) each day. While a large portion of them do end up in Europe eventually, others are transported to parts of West Africa such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
NAPTIP has partnered with IOM to repatriate 41 victims from Mali in December and is currently working on saving more.
In Africa, with the highest prevalence of modern-day slavery in the world and 9.2 million living in chains, women and girls make up 71% of the victims.
It’s chilling how much slavery is still alive and active in our world today. What a good thing that agencies like NAPTIP and IOM are hard at work fighting for the liberation of such victims.
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