A few weeks ago, I was discussing with a friend, and somehow for that day, the conversation had been about girls who often traveled overseas to engage in prostitution and how often they were judged without given a moment to tell their stories or share the circumstances that led them there. He told me of this girl he had met whilst abroad briefly and how her story differed from the norm.
She hadn’t gone overseas to become a prostitute, far from it. When she suddenly lost her parents and life had become bleak, her guardian was contacted by a family friend who had informed them of the opportunity for her to become a receptionist abroad at a hotel. She had had to stop school because of the recent tragedies and so when this opportunity came up, it was like a God-sent. Her arrival at the designated country provided a different reality from the one she had envisaged. She wouldn’t be working in any hotels, at least not in the capacity she had thought. With her passport and means of identification seized by her sponsors, she was told she’d have to sell herself to pay off a certain sum of money to earn her freedom. With no way of contacting home, no identification in a foreign country, no means of going back to Nigeria, and in the hands of traffickers, she suddenly found herself a prostitute.
As I watched Oloture and the similar storyline of women trafficked to Europe I really couldn’t help but think of this young woman whom I have never met but whose story had affected me so strongly. Whilst we may be aware of the reality of modern-day human trafficking, often we scarcely meet or know a real-life victim which aids in providing the illusion of trafficking as folklore when in reality, it’s anything but that. It is revealed that human trafficking is estimated as a 150 billion USD global industry, which means that a lot of people are actively invested in making sure the business of trafficking is profitable and continues unabated with lots of women (some unsuspecting) caught in this very intricate web.
When Bekee said, “I am sorry, I do not know how much justice there is in the world” during a review of Oloture on Max and Bekee on YouTube, those words carried with it a level of trueness that we will never fully grasp.
©️ Amaka Obi.