SURVIVOR: Princess Inyang’s Testimony

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My name is Princess Inyang. I was a victim of trafficking.

The traffickers brought me from Nigeria through London and France in 1999. They promised to give me a good job in Europe as a cook because I was a cook in my country.

But when I arrived in Italy the traffickers carried me to one Madam and she forced me into prostitution and also forced me to pay a debt of €45,000. However I paid more than this because the house rent was more than the main debt.

Life on the street was so difficult until I found my savior Mossino Alberto who gave me a hand. Mr Piero Vercelli became my manager and Don Gallo the priest of Caritas in Asti.

I escaped from the traffickers and founded PIAM Onlus with the idea of helping victims of prostitution, because I had felt as they feel.

I am a living testimony of the dangers and atrocities to which many Nigerian women are subjected. My heart bleeds for joy whenever I can help one.

PIAM was founded between 1999 and 2000 with the help of the people mentioned before. We started with outreach street team to recognise the victims on the street and to let them come to our office to give them basic information on health and the contacts of other offices that could help them.

Moreover, PIAM assists victims, seeking residence permits in accordance with Italian law, and we guarantee to the victim shelter, education and vocational training.

This serves to educate and train and helps them to integrate into the Italian culture and social life by giving them job opportunities.

Between 2004 and 2009, we worked in Nigeria against trafficking in collaboration with some local NGOs and we also set up a clinic for the control and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

This was a way of creating opportunities to reach the girls in Edo State and discourage them from joining the traffickers. This network has worked to reduce the number of victims in Italy over those years.

But we can see that traffickers continue their work more than ever – although NGOs do try to assist the victims.

There are three things worthy of note that could help reduce the number of victims.

1) More international projects in the countries of origin, not only a collaboration with leading NGOs in Edo State, but focused in local areas to create skills and scholarships for young girls, because this might convince them not to come in Europe with traffickers.

2) International law enforcement agencies should work strongly together to track down traffickers operating in Nigeria, Niger and Libya to reduce the sex trade and criminal events.

3) Finally more shelters should be granted in Europe for victims of trafficking and more funds for protection programs for the numerous victims are seeking help.

PIAM onlus Asti