A chance for a better life ends in prostitution
Published: 17 March 2009 11:04 | Changed: 17 March 2009 16:48
By Sheila Kamerman and Dick Wittenberg
Gift (27) from Nigeria wanted a better life for herself. Arrived in the Netherlands, she found herself forced into prostitution. This is her story.
"I was 18 when Peter, a small Nigerian man, approached me in the street. He told me about a Nigerian man he knew who lived in the Netherlands. I had no idea where that was.
"This friend was looking for an au pair girl. I would be making 10,000 Nigerian naira per month. That's 60 euros. But first I would have to pay back the trip: 10,000 dollars. After that I would be able to send money back to my family.
"I said yes almost immediately. I didn't want to live like my mother who I saw toiling over the cooking fire everyday and still go to bed hungry. I felt this was my chance for a better life.
"They lived in Brabant [a province in the south of the Netherlands]. Mary asked if I was having my period. Then she brought a plastic container. She cut my nails and put them in the container. She cut of tufts of my hair, my underarm hair, my pubic hair and put those in the container. Some menstrual blood went in there too. Then Mary said that I had to behave and I shouldn't run away. I had to repeat after her. I just thought: Why would I run away? I'm here to take care of your daughter.
"I knew this was voodoo. If you're from Nigeria you know this stuff. I believe that God is more powerful than voodoo. But I was a scared anyway. They say that if you break the oath you get very sick and die.
"For two weeks I took care of the baby. Then I was sold for 12,000 dollars to Tina, a Nigerian madam in Italy.
Nigerian human traffickers go on trial in the Netherlands
It is nothing new that Nigerian human traffickers have been using the Netherlands as their gateway to Europe. From 1996 to 1999, some four-hundred Nigerian girls have disappeared from the government shelters. Some were later found in Amsterdam's red-light district or in sex clubs elsewhere in the Netherlands 魚拓