Case 34

Nigerian case
Assessed case number:
10897/2016 RGNR mod. 21
Brief description of the case
In the case of the minor female victim, a Nigerian woman residing in Italy, a family friend of the minor herself, proposed to the minor that she emigrate to Italy to engage in prostitution. The trafficking victim accepts the proposal, naively believing that prostitution meant having a relationship with a man, who in exchange for the relationship would repay the €30,000 debt incurred in order to arrive in Italy. The victim makes an agreement with her boyfriend, also a Nigerian, and they both leave for Italy, where they enter illegally via Libya, crossing the Sicilian channel and landing in Lampedusa; both are then transferred to a first reception center for applicants for international protection in Sardinia. After a few weeks in the first reception center, the same woman who had convinced the minor to come to Italy, contacts the latter and by going in person manages to get her into her care by taking her to her own home, in which she lives together with two children and her Italian partner in Veneto, where the minor is forced into street prostitution. The investigation initially stemmed from a report initiated by an operator of the first reception center in Sardinia, who was suspicious of the manner in which the woman who had obtained custody of the minor had presented herself. The payment of the debt incurred by the victim was returned in cash collected from the exercise of prostitution, the proceeds of which were entirely handed over to the woman who exploited her, who also retained a share for the payment of rent and maintenance. The exploiter did not engage in prostitution, although she too had engaged in this activity in the past. In the second case, a Nigerian woman who was a saleswoman in a store in Nigeria was offered by another woman, also Nigerian, to come to Italy with the prospect of finding a job with which she could earn much more money and thus support her family. After accepting and contracting the debt, still in Nigeria, the woman would be escorted before a priest who would make the women swear that they would fulfill the debt. They would then embark on their journey to Italy, taking them to Libya, where a Nigerian man would take the trafficking victim's mobile phone and give her another from which she would be contacted after she landed in Italy. Once she arrived in Italy illegally, the victim would phone the woman who had offered her the trip, warning her of her arrival and that she would be in a first reception center in northern Italy; then, within a short period of time, she would be contacted by a third woman who instructed her to take a bus and arrive at a nearby location in the Veneto region where she would be housed in an apartment. In this transportation and hospitality activity the exploitative woman was supported by two other men one from the Ivory Coast and one from Gambia. Upon arriving at the apartment, the victim was immediately escorted to the street to engage in prostitution, but she initially refused. Faced with her refusal, the trafficking victim was locked up in another apartment, where, tied to a chair, she was repeatedly beaten until she agreed to prostitution. The Nigerian woman who housed and exploited her, had all the proceeds of the prostitution activity handed over to her in cash, part of which was paid to the first Nigerian woman, who lived in another city in northern Italy for payment of the debt incurred in Nigeria by the victim and other part she kept for her hospitality in the apartment and for maintenance. Both Nigerian women perpetrators of trafficking and sexual exploitation were married or otherwise cohabiting with Italian men and were mothers; both Italian men were aware of the activities of their female companions and enjoyed the associated financial benefits. The woman who harbored the woman and in fact was materially the one who supervised her and forced her into prostitution was the same woman who had been the perpetrator of the same crimes against the underage woman.