By NBF News

Female Nigerians are being trafficked to Italy, Sweden and other parts of Europe under the guise of a better life.

This disclosure was made by an Italy-based Non-Governmental organization, (NGO) known as New Face of Nigeria (NFN).

The Executive Director of the NGO, Rev. Augustine Alaribe, said in a press release made available to Daily Sun,

'Every year thousands of Nigerians migrate to Europe in search of a better life. But for some of them that search often end in tragedy, as they fall victim to competing mafia gangs that prey on their hopes. In southern Italy, Nigerian women are among the most exploited, with many ending up being trapped in the nightmarish world of the sex trade.'

The NGO said according to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Italy is now the main destination for more than 10, 000 Nigerian prostitutes, trafficked mostly from Benin City in Nigeria to European cities and other criminal hubs like the Domitiana and its coast.

'Nigerian criminals are able to reach agreements with all the mafias, from Colombians to Chinese. But it's an easier game for them in Italy for another reason – the high number of Italian clients who look for prostitutes night and day,' the executive director said.

But Nigerian human trafficking was often associated with drug smuggling and a distorted use of religious tradition. The women and girls, at the threat of death or insanity, were often forced to undergo spiritual oath-swearing ritual, known as 'juju' in local parlance to commit them to repaying the money to those who smuggled them to Italy.

Experts and gender advocates posited that about 50, 000 girls, aged between 9 and 17, had been trafficked for sexual exploitation in brothels within Nigeria.

'Many Nigerian women and children,' according to statistics, 'are trafficked to African and European countries annually. At least 60 per cent of the prostitutes in Turin, Italy and Antwerp, Belgium for instance, are known to be Nigerian women and girls.'