A number of Nigerians who among the latest badge of returnees from Libya have narrated horrible experiences they passed through in the North African country in the hands of traffickers.
Another set of 128 stranded Nigerians repatriated from Libya arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos and were received Tuesday evening by the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, who was represented by the NEMA Lagos Territorial Office Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye.
Two of the female returnees, 29-year-old Tosin and Blessing, narrated their traumatic experience in the hands of their traffickers informally referred to as ‘burgers’.
They recalled how the traffickers forced them into prostitution to recoup a combined sum of N6.7m claimed to have been spent on their travel to Libya.
Narrating her six-year experience in Europe, Tosin, who travelled since February 2016, said she was misled by her mother to embark on the fruitless journey.
In an emotional voice, she said her mother was approached by a lady in same street as her family, who sweet-talked her mother into convince her (Tosin) to embark on the journey so she could take care of her mother.
The mother of one said her trafficker used as a commercial sex worker to recover N2.2m before selling her to another trafficker who in turn made N1m from her through prostitution.
“My mother was approached by a street sister who convinced her that she should allow me to embark on the journey to Europe so that I can take care of her. I obeyed my mother when the pressure became unbearable. I left my three-month-old son behind. He should be six-year-old now,” she narrated.
“I had to obey my mother and embark on the journey, when the pressure became unbearable.
“I left my three months old son behind in my mum’s care and have not seen him since. He should be six years old now. My trafficker paid for the journey from Nigeria to Libya, which started on February 26, 2016.
“Before leaving Nigeria, my trafficker had informed me that I would refund the money spent on me for the journey, although she did not tell me the actual amount.
“I ended up paying her N2.2 million equivalent by engaging in ‘aristo’ (prostitution) throughout my six years sojourn,” said the returnee.
When she completed the payment, Tosin’s trafficker transferred her to another trafficker for another round of the prostitution business, “who I paid N1 million, being new proceeds from prostitution.”
“Coming to Nigeria now with only N200,000 that I hid, I don’t want to see my mother and son till I have enough money on me,” and started crying.
In her own account, Blessing, a hairdresser, said “a big sister” from her hometown in Ondo State, promised to take her to Europe on the pretence that she would continue her vocation there.
She said, “I left Nigeria on January 3, 2016 and the cold was at its peak at the time. My journey through the desert was horrific but what I experienced in the desert was a child’s play compared with the inhuman treatment meted out to me by my burger (trafficker) who is from my town and street.
“Despite the fact that I was ill as a result of the harsh weather in the desert, my trafficker forced me to have sex on the day I entered Libya by fixing me up with a client. That was the day I was deflowered. I used by body to pay my trafficker a total sum of N4.5m. The trafficker took nine of us out of Ondo State.”
Farinloye said the returnees, comprising 80 adult males, eight male children, two male infants, 30 adult females, four female children and four female infants, were brought back to Nigeria by the International Organisation for Migration.
Other agencies at the reception are the Nigerian Immigration Service, Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force