Osakwe Blessing A Nigerian girl, Osakwe Blessing, who was allegedly lured into prostitution in Russia, has narrated her ordeal.
Blessing, from the southern part of Nigeria, spoke recently on Deutsche Welle, DW News in Bonn, Germany, anchored by a presenter, Emma Burrows, where she revealed how she was deceived into the act by a certain woman in her hometown, who told her that there was work for young ladies in Russia. She said her parents were very poor and that the idea of going to Russia to assist her family and to save money for her education appealed to her and she accepted the proposition.
Blessing was promised a job in a supermarket which would take her only five or six months to earn the money to repay the costs of the visa and the trip which was $40,000.
It was learnt that the unnamed woman said after paying the amount, the girl could keep all the money she made.
However, on her arrival in Russia, Blessing discovered everything the woman had said was a lie; instead of the supermarket job, she was forced to work as a prostitute.
Speaking during an interview on DW News, Blessing said, “This is 2 years since I came to Russia and I am going home in a wheelchair.
“My madam said I would have to pay up the $40,000, the cost of the visa and the trip to Russia. “Sometimes the men are more than five or six.
They make you do the kind of stuff you don’t want to do and if you disagree, they will threaten to kill you.
“They beat you up, demand for their money (money she was trying to make up to $40,000 to complete payment to her madam).
“Once, I was taken to a flat where one man was waiting for me. Later, I discovered that there were eight men and I was made to sleep with all of them, but I refused to have sex without a condom.
“The men took back the money they had paid me, raped me, beat me and threw me down from the balcony which is on the 4th floor of the building. I hit the ground and broke my hip bone. I cannot walk properly as I am confined to a wheelchair.
“I was in the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, in a hospital for 2 days but my treatment was stopped afterwards because I couldn’t afford to pay the bills.”
The embattled lady was said to have luckily returned home and hopes to resume her studies.
However, she said the time she spent in Russia changed her life forever, adding that on her arrival in Nigeria, her mother was disappointed and broken to see her in a wheelchair.
In a tone of warning to Nigerian girls, Blessing said, “Stay back home, learn to work. Even though the pay is small, it is much better than coming here to suffer or lose your life.”
The news presenter, Emma Burrows, said the university which issued Blessing’s documents told her she never turned up to study and they denied any suggestion of corruption or being involved in a trafficking ring.
A Nigerian, Kenny Kehinde, an outreach worker, who works with several NGOs in Moscow said that about 2,000-3,000 Nigerian girls; many from poor, remote villages are brought to Russia every year for sex work.
“Most of the girls come to Russia on student visas and such visas are not easy to obtain as universities must provide supporting material for the applications.
“This is international modern-day slavery, where the girls are brought here with the help of some Russian government officials, some Nigerian authorities and so-called ‘madams’ [pimps] who exploit these girls for sex in Russia,” he said.
According to Usman Gafai, head of mission at the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, “Ten years ago, it was not such a huge problem as this. Those involved are an international cartel. On a daily basis, they are growing and making money out of it.”
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