JOHANNESBURG — Some Nigerian women and girls are being forced into prostitution in Ivory Coast after being deceived with promises of a better life outside of their country, according to a report by an international human rights group.
The report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch also called on Ivory Coast and Nigerian authorities to investigate the trafficking networks between the countries and to shut them down.
Nigeria’s government has passed antitrafficking laws that focus on human smuggling to other West African countries, Europe, and the United States, but not Ivory Coast, the report said.
“These women and girls were sold dreams of migrating to better lives, but then found themselves in a personal hell,’’ said Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher at HRW.
Those interviewed describe being misled by other Nigerian women into this modern day slavery with promises of jobs as hairdressers, tailors, or other work.
A 27-year-old Nigerian woman who went by the name Ruth, told the rights group that she left Nigeria six years ago after being recruited by a woman who said that she sold fabrics in Ivory Coast. She said that after the second day of arrival the woman handed each of them a condom.
Another woman said that she was told she could sell clothes in Liberia, but was taken to Ivory Coast to instead work as a prostitute.
The rights group said it found five brothels with young Nigerian women in two small Ivorian towns. It said that the victims were between the ages of 15 and 17 or younger when taken to Ivory Coast.