Nigerian asylum seekers in the Netherlands have disappeared. Some 2,461 Nigerians seeking asylum arrived in the Netherlands last year and 961 of the number cannot be traced.
Again, another 128 who arrived in the European country January this year are not traceable. This is brought to the fore by Lost in Europe, a group of investigative reporters.
The organization believes the West African citizens fell victim to human traffickers and are being forced into drug trafficking and prostitution across the European Union.
“The Dutch police should create a specific West African human trafficking unit, which invests in knowledge and expertise and is well connected to the West African community that we have here in the Netherlands.
“And by using this and creating this expertise, the Dutch police would be well equipped to prosecute these trafficking rings,” Shamir Ceuleers of the Dutch Centre Against Human and Child Trafficking said.
The United Nation’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) once called the levels of trafficked women and girls from Nigeria to Europe a “crisis.”
About 3,600 Nigerian women arrived by boat to Italy in the first six months of 2016, almost double the number who were registered in the same time period the previous year.
According to VOA, many young Nigerians are enticed with promises of a better life in Europe, often crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat and after arriving they are forced to be prostitutes and drug traffickers.
“Within Europe, it’s essential to work together and to exchange experiences but also exchange data of the missing children and women and men. So if they disappear and pop up somewhere in conditions considered human trafficking, they can easily be identified.
“I think that’s really essential, and to give them the protection they need,” The Dutch national prosecutor for human trafficking and people smuggling, Warner ten Kate, said.
In 2014, about 1,500 Nigerian women arrived by sea, and in 2015, the figure increased to 5,633. According to the IOM, more than 80 percent of these women will be trafficked into prostitution in Italy and across Europe.
Simona Moscarelli, an anti-trafficking expert at the IOM once said, “There is little understanding of the dynamics and nature of this form of trafficking,” adding that “the reception centers are not good places for…women. Just last week, six girls went missing from a reception centre in Sicily; they were just picked up in a car and driven away.”
In 2016, Spanish police in a major operation, which was made possible through the collaboration of the Office of Criminal Investigation in Germany and Europol arrested 24 suspected traffickers.
“We have also seen, even last year, an increase of women victims of trafficking, coming from Ivory Coast, which is quite new, and many coming from Tunisia.
“This is a different kind of exploitation because it’s not only sexual exploitation but also work exploitation and domestic exploitation. Ivorian girls were exploited to Tunisia, and then re-trafficked in Italy,” Flavio Di Giacomo of the IOM said.