3,000 Nigerian Prostitutes Await Deportation From Italy

Panafrican News Agency, 14 September 2000

Lagos, Nigeria—Women trafficking has assumed a serious dimension in Nigeria, with a report that at least 3,000 girls awaiting deportation from Italian prisons for prostituting.

The number is in addition to the 403 others deported from various countries for the same reason between January and July, according to Titi Abubakar, wife of the Nigerian vice president.

Titi, founder of Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication, was speaking in Abuja while receiving the organisation's draft bill on women trafficking.

She problem of women trafficking in Nigeria has forced the mid-western state of Edo, where most of the girls originated, to enact an anti-prostitution law to curb the practice.

The state's anti-prostitution bill, signed into law by Governor Lucky Igbinedion last week, was the highpoint of his wife's campaign against international prostitution.

The state's first lady, Eky Igbinedion, had initiated the Idia Renaissance to ensure the “rebirth of social and moral values among Edo women.”

“Prostitution is not part of our culture, rather it is one of the inimical baggage that came with Westernisation and which also provide avenue for rapid spread of AIDS,” the governor said while signing the anti- prostitution bill.

Even though many of the deported women have been paraded publicly, it has not deterred those willing to travel out of the country for prostitution.

Italy is the country of choice for Nigerian prostitutes, though some also travel to other European countries.

The enormity of the problem, coupled with that of child trafficking, led to the formation of the organisation by Titi Abubakar

She said the Nigerian Embassy in Gabon had been repatriating not less than 15 child labourers monthly since the beginning of the year, and urged wives of policy makers to remind their spouses of the need for good governance, poverty alleviation and employment of youths.

“The menace of trafficking is neither geographical, tribal nor gender-based, It respects no status. It is a multi-dimensional problem,” she said.