© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
16,000 Nigerian women entered Italy in two years — as commercial sex workers
Italian and European authorities estimate that as many as 16,000 Nigerian women have entered Italy the past two years to work as street prostitutes.
This is part of ‘Mafia’s Death Triangle Nigerian, Ghanian Migrants Just Try to Survive’ — a report by VOA detailing how Father Carlo Ladicicco, a 65-year-old retired Catholic priest is fighting the cause of African migrants — Ghanian and Nigerian — in one of Italy’s most infamous municipalities, Castel Volturno.
According to Ladicicco who uses his pension to subsidise his pastoral outreach to some of the poorest and most exploited African migrants in Italy, recent Ghanian and Nigerian migrants settle in Castel Volturno once they’re allowed to leave reception camps in Sicily or Bari because previous generations of migrants from their countries ended up here — some more than 20 years ago.
Many of the older generation of migrants, he says, “still live in Italy without legal documents — and their children, even when born here, remain in a legal limbo”.
According to him, one of the key drivers of African migration is the goal to make money to improve the lives of families back home.
“Other migrants wanted to flee the confines of a life proscribed by traditional rules and limited by crushing poverty. But poverty is what they find in Italy, too,” he says.
“Yes, they’re shocked at how hard life is here for them,” says Father Carlo of the migrants in the town — the men mainly are from Ghana.
“The men tell me they didn’t realise how difficult it would be to get work, find somewhere to live and to get documents. They thought Europe would be easy. But when they call home they lie and say everything is fine — they don’t admit things are falling apart because they’re ashamed.”
The report says some houses deserted by despairing owners in the town are now occupied by migrants who are described as the latest generation to buy into the illusion of a promised land.
“Among their number are hundreds of Nigerian women trafficked into Italy by Nigerian crime syndicates”.
Father Ladicicco says there are scant work opportunities for men, except poorly-paid, back-breaking labour as virtually enslaved agricultural workers for mafia-linked recruiters and landowners.
“I am an emergency resource,” he says of his mission, complaining about the neglect of the town by authorities in Rome. “I am here to help migrants connect to charities, to help them get a lawyer or doctor.”
Two years ago, he explains, you would see a migrant prostitute every 200 to 300 metres on the highways outside town.
“Now there’s a woman every 50 meters,” he sighs. “We are all trying to normalize an absolutely abnormal situation.”