Blessing Okoedion told Quartz’s Barbie Latza Nadeau her story; How she met a woman named Alice at her church. Alice told her she was going to be a computer technician in Italy, so she left Nigeria in search of greener pastures under the pretext of being a computer technician, but forced into prostitution in the heart of Italy, bound to pay debts to a mob, or risk the consequence of a gruesome death.
According to Blessing Okoedion, she met a woman named Alice at her church. Alice told her she was going to be a computer technician in Italy, so she left Nigeria, in search of greener pastures.
When she finally got to Italy, she was introduced to a woman named, Madam Faith.
Madam Faith was a ‘Madame,’ running a closed, high-risk prostitution ring, mirroring a high stakes poker game where lives could easily get lost in the turf wars with Ukranian, Romanian or Russian prostitution organizations and the ever-vigilant Italian syndicates.
After being introduced to Madam Faith, she was given a pay-as-you-go cell phone with a meager amount on it to make outgoing calls.
She was fully introduced into prostitution, though she vehemently rejected it when she first arrived in Italy.
Madam Faith gave her a lecture on Police cars and how to operate, how to run and when to run; she was to reject nobody and charge €20 ($24) a person, though some might only pay €10 or €15. For some other police officers, she had to go free because of cheap favors.
Here are the street rules Madam Faith told Blessing:
1.) Hide her money in her boot or workers from other prostitution rings would pretend to be clients and try to steal it from her.
2.) If there was more than one person in a car, be careful. Although not necessarily refuse them because she could charge per person.
3.) Never be friends with the Russian, Ukrainian, and Romanian women who worked on the perimeter of the Nigerian women’s area.
4.) Let Madam Faith know if she ever saw one on her section of sidewalk.
5.) If you are scared, carry a knife or be ready to defend yourself with a shard of glass.
6.) Clients had to pay €50 ($62) in advance if Blessing wanted to bring them to the connection house she would be living in.
After Blessing’s fourth day in Italy, she realized that she was just living to satisfy another piece of sex-hungry men, so she made up her mind to find a lasting solution.
She couldn’t save money as her Madam would yank all the money out of her purse the minute she gets into the connection house.
The next day, she tried to find a Police station, but instead found an educated Nigerian man like her who was caught in drug trafficking. He was also afraid of being seen by a gang member or arrested, so he told her about the Police station in English.
According to Quartz, The next morning, Blessing got to the station at 9 am and there was an English-speaking officer there. She signed a complaint against Alice, Madam Faith, and her husband, and the police took her to Casa Ruth, a home run by Catholic nuns for migrant women forced into sexual slavery. She was off the street just four days after she arrived.
After everything, when Blessing finally got back to Nigeria, out of fear of being stigmatized, She couldn’t speak of her dark, torrid time with friends, not even her parents who thought she had been working as a computer technician all these time. She only told her sisters what happened.
Blessing said that with the substandard life she has seen in Nigeria, it’s easy to understand why most girls would give an arm and a leg to go to their idea of Europe, only to be sold into modern slavery.
Even worse, her sister called her up after she had returned to Italy that a British family wanted to hire her in England. Blessing told her:
“There is no job as a babysitter. There is only one kind of work in Europe for Nigerian women.”
That job is prostitution!