The Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed, has disclosed that no fewer than 10,000 Nigerian girls were forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso.
Ahmed disclosed this yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ouagadougou, saying the victims of sex-trade were mainly underage girls kept in appalling conditions in Ouagadougou and in mining camps across the West African country.
Ahmed, who has been in Burkina Faso since August 2017, said more than 200 Nigerian girls had been voluntarily repatriated this year.
However, she said many of the girls, who were promised jobs in the country and Europe by the human traffickers, are not willing to return home.
“The spate of human trafficking here in Burkina Faso is a big concern to the embassy, because, at present, we have nothing less than 10,000 Nigerian girls who have been trafficked into Burkina Faso as commercial sex workers.
“Most of these girls are underage; most left school and are roaming about doing commercial sex work in Burkina Faso. This, apart from being a dent to our country, is also a sort of concern as far as their health is concerned.
“This is very serious to us and most of the girls who want to go back as a result this voluntary repatriation do it because they were tricked, they did not know the condition they were going to find themselves here.
“For every Nigerian girl that escapes and wants to go back, there are more than 10 in the bush that are willing to carry on,” she said
Ahmed condemned the activities of Nigerian syndicates operating in Burkina Faso, vowing that the embassy would collaborate with local authorities to track the perpetrators and bring them to book.
She said the embassy was partnering with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office in Ouagadougou to assist in the voluntary repatriation of some of the victims of human trafficking.
Ahmed said around “200 girls have been repatriated to Nigeria by the embassy, this is apart from the ones that run to the churches, some to other civil society organisations and IOM.”
“In fact, the IOM is complaining to the embassy that most of the money meant for West Africa is used to repatriate Nigerian girls back home and they are complaining that, with time, they would not be able to cope with the number.
“So, if the embassy alone has repatriated 200 girls, you can imagine how many girls the IOM has repatriated and the reason they are complaining,” she said.
Ahmed appealed to Nigerian parents to monitor their children more closely and not be swayed by promises of greener pastures abroad.
“Most of the girls said that their parents don’t know that they are here; some will tell us that their parents know, and some will say that they were sent by either their father, mother, uncle.
“This is a problem that emanates from the family. For the girls, I wish to tell them that anybody they see that comes to tell them that he is taking them to somewhere to either be employed as hair dressers or work in their shop, he or she is a human trafficker.”