By Siddharth Kara, Special to CNN
Editor’s Note: Trafficking expert Siddharth Kara is a Harvard fellow and author of the award-winning book, "Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery." For more than 15 years, he has traveled around the world to research modern-day slavery, interviewing thousands of former and current slaves. Kara also advises the United Nations and governments on anti-slavery research and policy.
Edo State, Nigeria - The first victim of human trafficking I met from Nigeria was in a shelter in north Italy in 2004. Her name was Gift. Since that time, I’ve interviewed 27 Nigerian victims of human trafficking in the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy and even Thailand.
All but one of them were from Edo State, an area east of the city of Lagos.
These women told me some of the most harrowing tales of trafficking I have ever heard. Some trudged through the desert for weeks to the North African coast, where they crossed dangerous waters in rafts to Europe. Others were flown directly from Lagos to Milan, Copenhagen or London. All of them suffered extremes of rape, torture and abuse that are impossible to imagine.
A few aspects of these ordeals immediately caught my attention. Each one of the women was fiercely committed to repaying debts to their madams of up to 50,000 euros. When rescued, they often refused assistance. When asked to testify in trials, some went into fits and trances in the witness box. FULL POST
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