Lagos: Around 20,000 Nigerian girls have been sold to prostitution rings by human traffickers, authorities have found in Nigeria.
"The new trend is that they (traffickers) told them (the Nigerian girls) they were taking them to Malaysia and they found themselves in Mali. They told them they would be working in five-star restaurants where they would be paid $700 per month," Nigeria's National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons' (NAPTIP) Arinze Osakwe told CNN.
"We brought back 104 girls just from three ramshackle brothels (in Mali), and those were the ones that were even willing to come. They were mostly between the age of 13 and 25, and they had been trapped in the country for many years," he further stated.
Osakwe outlined that there had been a recent spike in the number of girls and women trafficked to Mali. "Since then, we have been working with local authorities and receiving reports from the Nigerian embassy in Bamako that the number of Nigerian girls trafficked to Mali has spiked tremendously," he highlighted.
The federal agency is working with authorities in Mali, the International Organisation for Migration and the National Emergency Management Agency to bring the trafficked women back to Nigeria.
Scores of Nigerians are trafficked every year, out of which, around 97 per cent victims are women. At least 77 per cent of them have been sexually exploited by their traffickers.