Reporting by Al Jazeera English published on March 6, 2019
In January 2019, NAPTIP, Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency, reported that it had credible intelligence that at least 20,000 Nigerian women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Mali. Most of the young women, who are between the ages of 13 and 25, have been sold by human traffickers into prostitution rings which operate in local hotels and nightclubs. They were lured from Nigeria with promises of employment in Malaysia. Instead, according to results of the fact-finding mission, they ended up in forced prostitution in local establishments, including gold mining communities in Northern Mali. In December 2018, NAPTIP, in collaboration with the UN’s immigration agency (IOM), repatriated 104 young women, noting that others were hesitant to return back to Nigeria- notwithstanding the hardships and conditions. Officials report that since then, efforts in repatriating others have been hampered, largely due to collusion between law enforcement agents and traffickers.