Sex Trafficking: New Yorker article on Blessing and Edo state

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Blessing and a companion in Italy

This article by the New Yorker exposes the big problem of sex trafficking in Nigeria.

On April 10, 2017, Ben Taub wrote a 12,000 word article that went largely unnoticed in this part of the world.

The New Yorker long read article is titled "The Desperate Journey of a Trafficked Girl" and Taub provides an in-depth and explosive look into the world of sex trafficking.

The article reveals the ugly reality of how thousands of Nigerian women are tricked to move to Italy to become prostitutes. Ben Taub writes on the hardship that faces the women when they get to Italy, how they are held hostage by madams and how they have to sell their bodies to pay for their debt.


More importantly he writes on the often deadly journey many Nigerian women take to get into Europe. With great detail he shows us how many of our country men suffer and die in the desert or drown in the sea to make it into Europe.

The sad but revealing article centers on one character, Blessing, who went through hell. It also states that Edo state is the capital of sex trafficking in Nigeria.


"The migration of young women out of Benin City began in the nineteen-eighties, when Edo women—fed up with repression, domestic chores, and a lack of economic opportunities—travelled to Europe by airplane, with fake documents. Many ended up doing sex work on the streets of major cities—London, Paris, Madrid, Athens, Rome.

"By the end of the decade, according to a report commissioned by the United Nations, “the fear of aids rendered drug-addicted Italian girls unattractive on the prostitution market”; Nigerians from Edo State largely filled the demand. The money wasn’t great, by European standards, but, before long, parents in Benin City were replacing ramshackle houses of mud and wood with walled-off properties.

"Lists of expensive assets—cars, furniture, generators—purchased with remittances from Europe were included in obituaries, and envious neighbors took note. Pentecostal ministers, preaching a gospel of prosperity, extolled the benefits of migration" writes Ben Taub for the New Yorker.

Blessing's story started from Benin then to Northern Nigeria, where they avoided Boko Haram territory and passed an unguarded part of the country's border into Niger state where a perfect network for trafficking women had been established for years.

The next stop is Libya and the article greatly reveals tales of horror that Nigerian women face daily who want to make it into Europe. The story of Blessing is not an exception but what happens regularly. Blessing was lucky to make it into Italy after she nearly died on the sea.

This article exposes a world that many Nigerians don't know exist, sex trafficking, death, prostitution, extortion and human rights abuse. If you have the time to check it out, please do. We have a big problem on our hands and we are doing nothing about it.

from - Gist

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