No better account could describe what Nigerians pass through in their quest to enter Italy through the Mediterranean than the one offered by Dr.John DeGarmo, an expert in human trafficking who spoke to Refinery29 about the prevalence of sex trafficking amongst migrants saying:
The rate of human trafficking continues to rise in Europe at a staggering rate, and many of these victims are coming from Nigeria. Indeed, in 2016 along, over 11,000 Nigerian women and girls either crossing the African continent or traveling by boat, arrived into Italy, where traffickers are waiting to ensnare and entrap them.
Many of these victims are fleeing a life of violence and extreme poverty for the promise of a better life style, of a dream of finding success. European nations such as Romania, Italy, and Greece have seen the largest increase in human trafficking. Most of these victims are between the ages of 14 and 18. It is reported that people-smuggling gangs charge each migrant about $6,000.
This account by Dr John DeGarmo is quite severe but it’s a fact that we have lost many promising Nigerians to the Mediterranean and its more frightening that we may still lost more to the Mediterranean in years to come.
Death is dreaded by many as a result we may think it’s difficult for more Nigerians to travel on sea for days in their bid to enter Europe on a path that once killed their contemporaries. But this will continually be the norm when we’ve failed to make our nation work.
We underestimate just how crippling poverty has become for the vast majority of Nigerians and many are looking for a way out of the quagmire and will seize at any opportunity, even one that entails travelling through the Mediterranean trip to Europe. A committee set up to investigate the open secret of illegal migrations and human trafficking seems redudant when there is NAPTIP.
The existing problems chasing our doctors and professionals away are the same chasing these individuals to the Mediterranean. If our flailing economy is not properly addressed, lots will still die in the Mediterranean in the months to come. Our country doesn’t work, and for these people even a life in the shadows doing sex work and menial labour is better than remaining here. If that doesn’t speak for itself, I have no idea what will.