More than 80 percent of Nigerian women trafficked abroad to work in the sex trade come from Edo State, according to United Nations’ estimates.
Their living conditions in Italy, which is their main destination are harsh. And their plight has been highlighted by Paris-based photographer Elena Perlino, who began to notice the presence of young African women working on the streets during her commutes from Turin ( Pictured right a Nigerian in Italy waits for a client in the countryside during the winter season).
‘I decided to start from this surreal vision to tell a story. I have been working on the topic for several years, focusing mainly on the Italian connection.’ she explained (Pictured below a Nigerian woman commuting between Turin and Milan on the 4am train).
Perlino reveals that many Nigerian women come to Italy hoping to make enough money from honest work as nannies or factory workers to support their families back home, but are tricked by traffickers into working in the sex trade.
With constant threats of arrest haunting them, and other usual risks of the job, the photographer explained: ‘My work attempts to show a complex phenomenon that crosses Italy from North to South.
‘This involves many cities including Turin, Milan, Genoa, Rome, Naples and Palermo and thousands of Nigerian and Italian people.’
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime declared Nigeria among the top eight countries with the highest human trafficking rates in the world.