Ramatu Ahmed, Nigeria’s ambassador to Burkina Faso, says 10,000 girls of Nigerian origin have been forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso.
NAN reports that Ahmed spoke in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, on Monday.
She said the victims of the 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 over 200 Nigerian girls had been voluntarily repatriated this year.
According to the ambassador, 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,” she said.
“And most of these girls are underage; most left schools 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.
“For every Nigerian girl that escapes and wants to go back, there are more than 10 girls in the bush that are willing to carry on. ”
Ahmed condemned the activities of Nigerian syndicates operating in Burkina Faso, vowing that the embassy will continue to track them down and bring the perpetrators to book in collaboration with the local authorities.
She said the embassy is 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.
“Two hundred 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 (CSOs) and the International Organisations on Migration (IOM), “she said.
“In fact, the IOM is complaining to the embassy that most of its 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.”
Ahmed appealed to parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards more closely and not to be swayed by promises of greener pastures abroad.
Editor’s note: Picture used for illustrative purposes