The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons ( NAPTIP ) is seeking an agreement between Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries to end the practice of Nigerian girls being used as sex slaves in Mali.
NAPTIP Director-General Julie Okah-Donli, at a presentation to the ECOWAS Parliament during its First Ordinary Session on Saturday, told members of parliament that Nigerian girls were being sold for between N210,000 and N240,000 to work as prostitutes.
Okah-Donli said that the girls were made to pay back between N1.08 million and N1.2 million, usually within eight months, to their madams after being sold, adding that after gaining their freedom from their madams, the girls would then go into business, making money for themselves through prostitution before graduating to madams of their own.
“There are more than one million Nigerians residing in Mali. About 20,000 of these Nigerians are girls believed to be victims of trafficking and the number increases by 50 per day.
“Many victims are deceived to leave their livelihoods in Nigeria for greener pastures in ‘Mali.
“Some of the victims are abducted from Nigeria, including those that arrive in school uniforms.
“On arrival at the border town between Burkina Faso and Mali, many of the girls are sold off for CFA 350,000 to 400,000; their new owners then make them pay back about CFA 1.6 million to CFA 2 million with one CFA being 0.6 Naira,” she said.
Okah-Donli said that as part of efforts to curb the trend, the mission recommended among other things, that Nigeria should develop a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Guinea and Senegal.
The mission further recommended that all motor-parks through which the girls were trafficked should be sanitised and efforts made to stop extortion of Nigerians travelling to or through the aforementioned countries, she said.