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Nigerian Victims of Sex Trafficking share their Horror Stories after being lured to Europe



CNN’s Arwa Damon sat with 2 victims of sex trafficking in Nigeria, to hear their accounts of how they were lured abroad, and the horrors they suffered.

Sandra, not her real name, discussed being tricked by a man she met in a church in Edo State, who said he was an assistant pastor.

He had a vision from God that she traveled abroad, he said, and his sister could help her get a job at a hair salon.

As added security, Sandra said he took: “my pants, my bra, the hair from my head, the armpit and my private parts,” to a medicine man for juju.

Owing her trafficker $45,000 for covering her flight to Europe, the juju was to ensure she’d pay back.

Talking about a particularly awful experience, Sandra said:

There were five of them. They were brutal, they beat me up, they brought out a knife and tried to stab me. They might even kill you if you try to defend yourself. That’s the reason why it is very horrible. And in that process most Nigerian girls lose their life, because not every girl can withstand the pressure of 10 men.

The men eventually pushed her out of a second-story window for not submitting.

Ede‘s story is quite different. She was sold into sexual slavery in Libya.

“He used to hurt me, apart from work,” she said of the man who bought her. “That is how they do there. When you finish paying your money [to your captor], if you are staying with a wicked somebody, they will sell you to another people so you start all over again.”

“Especially they hate us, we Nigerians … they don’t even want to hear anything concerning Nigerians,” she continued. “They treated us like a slave, as if we are nothing. So we went through a lot there.”

Watch clips of the report below.

Read more here.

Photo Credit: CNN


  1. Deleke

    December 5, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Sad Sad Sad 🙁

    • Ha ha Ha ha

      December 7, 2017 at 8:44 am


  2. Bade

    December 5, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    They leave the shores in the hope of work and a better life. Our nation has failed us.

    • Dust

      December 6, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Don’t allow the media to manipulate you into self-hating or turning against your own especially foreign media. Nigeria is been targeted and it seems the Nigerian church is also been targeted… the trafficking in mauritania is worse but media is not making noise about it.

    • Ha ha Ha ha

      December 7, 2017 at 8:37 am


  3. Weezy

    December 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    This is terrible.

  4. BOSS

    December 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    The first girl’s story does not add up. When your body part is demanded to be taken to a juju man, what do you do? Some of these girls went to Italy and all over on their own volition. I bet what they did not expect is the brutality that goes with the job. Now that you have experienced this torture use your voice well and educate other greedy girls like you. There is no paddy in the jungle of obodo oyibo when you do not have proper documentation.

    • Mama

      December 6, 2017 at 12:13 am

      Thank you. I share your sentiments. The sad thing is even if they share their experiences it will not stop others from following same route. Honestly, at this junction i think we need to stop pretending and reacting to every story like we don’t know what is truly happening here. I can safely say that even if you live in the remotest village in Nigeria, you must have heard about traffickers one way or the other so I don’t understand how these girls and their families claim to be naive and unaware of the intentions of their ‘benefactors’.

      When anything is reported about the north here we are quick to cite how they are the most backwards, uneducated, lest progressive and poverty stricken region in Nigeria. There are people up north who have literally lost everything with the boko-haram crisis going on. Yet, i have hardly seen anyone from the north-man or woman in any these videos. There African countries that are not just poorer than ours but a zillion times unsafe but it is not their people we see here. So no, i don’t believe poverty is the main reason, it is GREED, LACK OF CONTENTMENT, and an unhealthy desire to PEPPERDEM. Until we begin to imbibe the right values, we will continue to read stories like this at least once a month.

    • Mama

      December 6, 2017 at 1:41 am

      Did i just write ‘at this junction’????Please oh…’juncture’ not ‘junction’, ‘least progressive’.

  5. Adebayo

    December 5, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    When will we realise that the Nigerian government totally doesn’t care about its own people, here again while they all knew what was happening, we needed a foreign media, foreign Presidents to raise the alarm and propose an intervention force. Did Buhari say anything, no they were too busy with Atiku, Nigeria is rotten to its roots….

  6. Se

    December 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    No one is truly a victim here. He took hair from your head, private and you didn’t do or say anything because you were aware of the deal and process. Most especially you were willing to do anything pertaining to abroad. If one is not willing to go through proper documentation, with a mindset to work hard and patience then It’s on you.
    Victims, perpetrators time to reflect, reevaluate your lives.

    I’m not saying Nigeria is not difficult but there are thousands of people who stay back and work to their best ability in a legitimate way.
    The problem is the mindset that it’s greener on the other side and the greed to want to live large.
    Nigerians have created a “bad” name for themselves everywhere. Other Africans are not just jealous, envious but they have had enough of these people who reside in their countries who do illegal, evil things in the quest for more money.

  7. Fear God...

    December 5, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Things are tough in Naija. Yes! But there’s an element of greed in all these stories. And $45,000 for a flight to Europe? How?????

  8. Cheeksi

    December 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Oh please you guys. It’s not greed or foolishness, and yes they are victims. That you could have wisely discerned the pastor’s intent is because of your privileges: education, exposure, parental guidance etc. Which most of these girls do not have. Yes there are many awareness campaigns but that is for people who have electricity and internet to watch the news. Many people still don’t have access to any of this and dwell in mind blowing poverty and ignorance. Let’s not stay on our high horse and condemn them. Condemn the politicians that made this possible.

    • O!

      December 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Blame the politicians for EVERYTHING and take no responsibility for their inability to apply some level of ‘common sense’ and healthy skepticism? I agree with you though that this is partly due to a lack of education and good guidance. Still…

    • Puzzles

      December 5, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      As someone who had lived in Benin for some years, i can confidently tell you that it’s a thing of pride in some families to say that their sister is in Italy. And at least 85% of them know what they are going for and have accepted it.

      What they went thru was terrible but there is an element of greed in their story. I personally know of a young man who has a thriving business here with a wife and kid but he wanted to go abroad for greener pastures and was willing to go at any costs. After spending money he could have invested in his business, he went and nearly died in Libya. He allegedly escaped from there.

      You know the saddest part? Some people are still planning to go to Italy or wherever through Libya. They never learn

    • Poesy

      December 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Thank you, Cheeks! Too many times, we are products of our environments.
      When your family insists that ‘others have done it too’ and you genuinely don’t know better, what are your options?

    • StopShamingVictims

      December 6, 2017 at 3:09 am

      I will I could like your comment a million times! Looking down your nose and shouting “greed” at someone who must have felt they had no choice and made a terrible decision is victim-shaming. The fact that neither of us reading have made such a choice doesn’t make make us better human beings than her. These stories are heartbreaking. I’m glad she was able to escape and take that fake pastor to court.

    • Mama

      December 6, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Victim blaming, victim blaming bla bla bla. As usual we must abuse certain phrases until they lose their meaning. How didn’t she have a choice right from Nigeria? In that same video did you not still see someone else going through the same ritual in real time despite all the awareness. If people from the same region keep making the same ‘error’ then it is time we sat down and asked ourselves real questions. Your breaking heart will not solve the issue neither would denial or displacement. This poverty we speak of, it is not limited to any region, it is all over the country.

      Everything ‘victim blaming’, at this rate no one is responsible for their actions. In that case we are all victims including Evans. See, i can sympathetize with someone and still tell them the truth. She may be a victim but she is also complacent. Do you know people who have no choice? The kidnapped Chibok girls have no choice; those in IDP camps have no choice; people in war zones have no choice.

    • Seriously

      December 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Is this a joke? Common sense, wisdom and discernment have nothing to do with privilege and status. The poorest person sometimes knows what’s right from wrong than one who is educated, exposed and privileged. It’s a mindset/mentality thing.
      There are people in the remotest villages, who are literally suffering, don’t have access to pretty much anything who won’t fall for this because they know the deal. One of the necessary steps to change is acknowledgment and be truthful with yourselves.
      Let’s call a spade, a spade.
      It’s an insatiable urge to travel abroad because they feel, it will provide them with better opportunities. I’m sure they’ve heard through word of mouth(Nigerians talk a lot too) the good and bad of abroad. And majority of these women are from an area where it’s been known for a while now that many of their women who travel abroad do prostitution.
      Yes, some of them didn’t know and were misled but many also know but chose it for whatever reason.

    • Sere

      December 6, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      I wish I could be politically correct and agree with you, but I can not. We need to tell ourselves the truth so we can attack the problem decisively.

      Yes, poverty and deprivation makes people desperate but believe me, this issue of trafficking, especially among Edo girls has been on for decades.

      I have been living and practicing in Benin for over 10 years now and I won’t want to give unsubstantiated statistics, but I can tell you that for a large proportion of lower class and even some lower middle class families, having a child in Europe doing whatever is welcome as a shortcut out of poverty. Italy and Spain are the favourites. They go, the “successful” ones send home money, build houses. Their neighbors look on a prod their children “you never see the house wey Osas build for him mama? He/she na better pikin, you just dey here, fool”. Sometimes family meetings are held to decide who will “bell the cat”. Agents are found, ‘pastors’ offer prayer, as a matter of fact there are billboards about the town advertising ‘I will go abroad this year’ special programmes. For extra fortification, Jazz is also done. I wasn’t there, but I suspect that the first girl was told she needed the Jazz to ensure her safety and success bla bla. They have after all heard about people suffering terrible fates “abroad” but not them, they will be covered by the blood of Jesus or whatever and they will build houses before coming home. Then the sad reality hits, they fall among the ‘unfortunate’ ones and realize they didn’t expect it.

      In recent times, I know of a boy who successfully made the crossing to Europe through Libya, sponsored by his elder brother who successfully crossed and has been sending money home. When he is asked by friends, there is a possibility that he will tell others that the whole slavery thing only happens to “person wey no sabi”. But if he were enslaved and eventually repatriated he will sing a different song.

      Pushing young people abroad en masse happens everywhere but it has been epidemic here for decades. In fact, it is almost a thing of pride and a sign of accomplishment in some settings here. Families sell assets and raise as much a million to accomplish this here, hoping for a big pay out at the expense of the safety and well being of the victim.

      Yes they are victims of poverty, bad governance and deceit, but they are also victims of greed. This is the reality which we must deal with.

      Sadly, even with all the outcry about Libya and all, there will be people gathered at Ramat Park tomorrow morning to make the trip to Kano, to make the trip to Libya. TOMORROW.

    • Sere

      December 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      No light to watch tv or internet access you say? My dear, let us be pragmatic here. The way they heard by word of mouth that people are making it in Europe is the same way they also hear that people suffer too. They just pick the side they wish upon themselves. That is why they willingly believe the visions and fortify themselves with jazz.

      I sympathize with them, and i’m certainly not trying to sit on a high horse and judge them. This is the reality on ground. It’s like when students cheat in exams even when they know they can be rusticated but they hope that they don’t get caught. Some succed, others get rusticated. You can’t solely blame our underfunded underequipped Universities for that can you?

      Please don’t take this as a personal attack on your response.

  9. $45,000???

    December 5, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Lack of education is why she did not ask why what did not cost the satanic pastor upto $1,000 should be repaid with$45,0000.
    Wherever that bastard isn he will never ever do well in life in Jesus name! As he was merciless, so will he not receive an iota of mercy.

    May we learn to open up to the right people who will advise us well.

  10. Andrew

    December 6, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Stop lying ad playing the victim..You clearly knew what you were going to do in europe.. Ignorance is not an excuse anymore. Most of these girls are already prostitues in Nigeria at will so please!!

  11. omomo

    December 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

    most of the girls knew it was prostitution but they didn’t expect the trauma associated with it…. ..they thought the just go sleep with about 100 men ,get paid and that will be that….again if you claim ignorance you may likely be granted asylum all this is for gullible western media

  12. Miss Anoni Moss

    December 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

    This is really sad, I find it weird that they do not seem to care even after hearing all the horror stories, look at that Blessing woman already preparing to leave and she thinks the useless juju ritual will protect her. Just listen ‘the Juju man says if she fails on her promise to repay the cost of her travel a spirit will appear in her dreams and cut her’ CNN exposing some people’s stupidity, its no wonder the Libyans are selling them as slaves. Edo State needs to step up their campaign against human trafficking.

  13. Sere

    December 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I hadn’t even watched the videos before commenting under someone’s post earlier.

    I press play and it hits my screen “Benin City” then the reporter’s voice “she’s come to the Chief priest to guarantee safe passage to Italy”. Can Blessing say that she doesn’t know what girls go to do there?

    Blessing is probably hoping she will return with heavy gold round her neck and wrist and houses in her name like others who have gone before her and someone says there’s no greed involved, just victimhood. It she meets a harsh fate and returns, her story will change to “ I’m a pure victim”

  14. Ha ha Ha ha

    December 7, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I CAN’t Wait for the P### Rendition, of all this.

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