Joy from Nigeria - victim of trafficking into forced prostitution and refugee in Germany

© alexeynovikov -

German Police Authorities picked up a total of 68 victims of human trafficking of the Nigerian network of human traffickers. They were the largest group among African victims. There were 41 nigerian suspects in 2018, according to the Federal Police. These women from Nigeria see a lot of violence on their journey to Europe and have to survive life-threatening situations. 

When Joy was 17, she lived with her mother in Benin-City, in Nigeria. Joy could not go to school because of the difficult financial situation of her family, and is illiterate. To support her family and earn some money she sells water in the streets. Doing her work, she got contacted by a lady named Precious, who tells Joy she is seeking a babysitter for her children in Italy. She would help Joy to come to Europe and Joy could pay for the costs of her journey later, when she earns money in Italy. Joy is happy about this proposal, and that she is offered an opportunity to migrate to Europe and to support her family much better from there. She tells her mother about it and she is delighted as well. Precious takes Joy to a “priest” of a local traditional cult, who does a ceremony. There she has to swear to the priest, that she will pay back the debt of 35.000 Euro to Precious, and also has to promise that she will never speak about this oath. She is told, that whenever she breaks the oath, she will get crazy or die. Joy is frightened, as she knows about the magic power of the priest to harm her.

Now Precious brings Joy to a person of the network, who is in charge to bring Joy to Europe. With this man and many others, Joy goes on the dangerous trip to Libya, via Niger and the Sahara desert, traveling on the back of a lorry. In Libya, the man brings her to a connection house and tells her to prostitute herself to earn money. At first Joy refuses to do so, but by physical violence and reference to her oath she has to give in. After several months in Libya, the traffickers bring her to a small boat, and with many others she starts the dangerous passage to Italy. She survives the terrible crossing.

After she managed to be save in a refugee camp in Italy, she phones Precious, who sends a person of the Nigerian mafia to bring her to Neaples into a flat. At the outskirts of Neaples she is now forced to earn money as a prostitute on the street line, to pay back her debts. Joy is desperate. After some months she asks one of her clients to help her and to bring her to the next station. There she can take the train and escape to Germany. Here she applies for asylum. But her “Madame” is calling her on her phone and asks her to come back and pay her debts. She threatens Joy to find her and to kill her, whenever she returns to Nigeria. Joys mother tells her on the phone, that the family is in trouble, as the traffickers come and destroy their house, threatening they will do more harm, when Joys refuses to return to Precious. They also ask for money.

Joy is very much worried. She does not know what to do. She is afraid to go to the police or to tell the truth about her situation in the Asylum interview, because there she would have to give the names and address of Precious and the others and she fears the punishment of the traffickers. On the other hand she does not want to return to prostitution.