ABUJA/LONDON- According to state officials and anti-slavery activists, human traffickers are planning to exploit the relaxed Russian visa controls for next month’s World Cup to sell Nigerian women into sex work.
In Nigeria, officials have said from their own intelligence showing plans that were well under way to traffic local women into Russia for the World Cup, saying it was an exploitative move by Russia to let spectators enter the country with just a ticket and a fan pass.
Julia Siluyanova of Russian anti-slavery group Alternativa said, “This is a real present for traffickers.”
Even with this evidence, she said Russia’strict visa process had normally made trafficking people into the country time-consuming and costly but with the eased visa rules has now left the system open to abuse.
Speaking to Thomson Reuters Foundation via email, she continued, “We discovered that about 30 victims (Nigerian women) were brought to the Confederations Cup in Moscow last year … we expect to face the same problem during the World Cup this year,” Siluyanova told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency NAPTIP says it has received intelligence that human traffickers were planning to take full advantage of the tournament.
Arinze Orakwu, head of public enlightenment at NAPTIP said, ” If we alert Nigerians, we disrupt them (traffickers) … and let them know that these plans are in the works,”
Yinka Omorogbe, head of Edo’s anti-trafficking task force said, “Women are being trafficked to Russia, and we get returnees back from Russia,”
“It is not a frequent destination in the same way as Italy is, but we do get a pretty large number.”
The United Nations says that thousands of Nigerian women and girls are lured into Europe every year to make the the excruciating journey into the continent for a better life and are sometime trafficked into sex work to make a living.
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