Three more trafficked Nigerian women repatriated from the UAE
It’s been a while since the last update but coronavirus meant we have been busy at home supporting our own families as well as the girls and theirs in Nigeria.
We repatriated the remaining three girls who were met in Lagos by agents of the UK Joint Border Task Force. They were de-briefed for two days before being taken to Benin City to meet with NAPTIP. There they were again debriefed, had sessions with a counsellor and identified the madam and her accomplices in custody before being released home.
NAPTIP offer business training, funding for accommodation and stock to trade for the first year home for some victims. The first two girls recently attended the two-week business course in Lagos but the promised accommodation and stock has been put on hold owing to coronavirus. This is the same for the new arrivals as well.
Coronavirus has put a lot of strain on poor Nigerians. The family backgrounds of the girls you enabled us to help vary but there are some common threads that make their situation very tricky. Typically they live with their families in one to three rooms, the mother is working but has been laid off owing to coronavirus and the father is absent or not working. Money and food are scarce and tempers are fraying in the hot lockdown environment.
Nigeria goes into lockdown for corona
We have taken the decision to use the remaining monies to support the girls and their families through corona period. This means a regular weekly stipend to each of them and one-off emergency payments for family food. We have paid a year’s rent for the second girl, Bini’s family as well as providing a cash float for food directly to the mother who has been laid off. For another, we have purchased a further smartphone to replace a broken one bought by us in Dubai.
We have helped the first girl, Amy to a greater extent than the others owing to her home situation and background. We have got to know her the best of all the victims and she is different in every way. She is from a remote village and grew up feral but close to her tribal Esan family. A generally bright and joyous person, she is tired from years of living on the edge and the ordeal of Dubai.
Amy’s NAPTIP business class in Lagos
Amy’s first meal in her new apartment
Amy has been sleeping on sofas since returning home having no permanent abode. In the light of the NAPTIP shutdown, we have rented her an apartment for a year and furnished it together with the ultimate luxury of a generator – this means she can watch TV and charge her phone after the electricity is turned off in the evening. We wanted to act now before corona took hold.
I can’t tell you the indescribable joy at seeing a video of her dancing in her own space, animated and safe. That night, for almost the first time in her 28 years, she slept in a room alone. The difference between the thin, agitated and beaten girl I met in Dubai and her new energetic and optimistic persona is night and day. If your money was generously given only to change her life, it has been well spent.
Amy now waits to continue her seamstress apprenticeship post-corona. We will continue to support her for the years to come on condition that she make progress towards financial independence.
Our WhatsApp group chat has been incredibly helpful to all the girls as they disperse back to their homes. It’s meant that they are able to keep in touch as a group, especially as Nigeria goes into its third week of lockdown. Having the girls communicating on one channel has also enabled us to coordinate case meetings and keep everyone together while the court hearings are delayed.
In further news we also had the most incredible stroke of luck repatriating a Kenyan girl from the UAE. She was sleeping rough in Dubai after being held in a windowless basement for three months in the desert town of Al Khari – more about this amazing story in our next post.