20,000 Nigerian girls held in Mali for sex slavery

Nigerian girls outside where they live in Mali

Mali Law Enforcement collects weekly dues from Nigerian girls that are held for sex slavery in Mali.

New Discovery: Mali Law enforcement benefits from using Nigerian girls as sex slaves but they would not allow Mali girls to do prostitution for them. 

A lot of Nigerian girls are stuck in Mali after being trafficked for sex slavery. According to reports, the Nigerian government tried their best to get the women to come back to Nigeria but they haven’t been successful. 

Prosper Michael a spokesperson for war against human trafficking said, “ in this situation, there are a lot of beneficiaries in this crime, therefore it’s very difficult to eradicate it. The people that we can call to help us rescue the girls are benefit from the girls weekly” he is referring to Mali law enforcement authorities.  

Nigerian government delegates met with some of the girls outside town but only one of them agreed to come back to Nigeria. The rest decided that they would remain in Mali because they are afraid of their traffickers and some are ashamed to go back to their families. 

“ We cant force them to go back home, but those who are ready and willing to go back home, the Nigerian embassy, we are working with them closely, we are working with IOM closely, they are going to come together and take the girls back home. “  – Julie Okah-Donli who works with the agency for prohibition of trafficked persons. 

The girls are required to pay off their traffickers before they could be released, trafficked teenager has less chance of being released and the holder ones must pay about $2,000.00 before they can be released, someone told Aljazeera reporter. 

Ahmed Idris, also a reporter said that, the girls are housed in a tent in a very poor condition and they are forced to sleep with as many as 10 men daily. Some of the girls are as young as 14 years old; they were taken from the street of Nigeria in their school uniforms. Those who got away are either very ill or they are lucky enough to runaway. He added. 

A safe house in the city of Bamako houses 30 women who are waiting to be transported back to Nigeria. 

Not all the girls were forcedly trafficked to Mali; some girls came to Mali voluntarily. A girl named Faith said she ran away from home to do prostitution. She is 8 months pregnant and she is ashamed to go back home. As a result, she decided to stay behind. 

Most of the girls came to Mali through Benin Republic, their trafficker promised them a new life, and well-paid job. They didn’t know that they would be used as sex slaves. 

A girl told the camera man that a lady told her that she would help her get to Europe but she end up in Mali. “She said I should not tell anyone that she’s traveling. I didn’t know that I was coming here to do Ashawo (Prostitution)”, she said. 

The girls revealed to investigators that Mali law enforcement officers upon arrival registered them, and make them to pay mandatory dues every week to the authorities. 

The investigators also found out that Malians would only used Nigerian girls for prostitution and not the girls from Mali. 

Credit Ahmed Idris