Burkina Faso - People trafficking.
Writer Billy Briggs and I were in Burkina Faso, West Africa to report on the appalling story of people trafficking for the sex trade. Every year thousands of young girls and women are trafficked from Nigeria through the African hub of Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. Many are lured by promises of hairdressing, nanny jobs etc. Although they are headed to Europe or USA it is not for the work they are hoping. The lucrative trade in girls is off the scale but efforts to outlaw the practice are thwarted by corruption, witchcraft and threats of violence. We managed to get access to the sex shops though not without some scary moments. We met the ‘madam’ named Sandra (white vest),herself from Nigeria and victim of trafficking with her sister. Girls young and older, already broken by their experiences, they are virtually prisoners apart from church on Saturday.
We also visited a church where prostitutes former and present attend with pimps past and present.
At a bar/brothel outside of Ouagadougou we observed first hand, the rescue of Mercy and Jennifer.. They had been trafficked from Nigeria, via Ghana over an all too lax border security, to Ouagadougou. The evening we visited with a local pastor, it was to be their first ‘working’ night. A long story short and unplanned, we ended up with the 2 girls in our car and leaving in our wake a very irate pack of men. We had stolen their ‘property’. The girls registered at a local police station before going to the pastor’s school/home. From there they called their families.
They were eventually taken back to their homes in Nigeria. It is an all too rare happy ending.