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It is estimated that there are around 875, 000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Nigeria. It remains a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Within Nigeria, women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked for forced labour in street vending, agriculture, mining, stone quarries, and as domestic servants. Religious teachers also traffic boys, called almajiri, for forced begging.

Aicha was told she would be staying with a woman and helping her with the housework. However instead, Aicha found herself locked in a stranger’s house and forced to work longs hours taking care of children and doing all the cooking and cleaning. Aicha stayed there for 3 years before she returned to her village. Through Plan International she has learned dress-making, and hopes to have her own workshop.

The woman who took me there left me in a small town. I thought I was going to stay with her and help her with the housework. But she installed me in a strange house which was fenced and locked with a key. I worked all day long from 4am to 11pm. I had to take care of children, do the housework and wash dishes and clothes. I was alone and had no one to talk with. I had never gone out of the house throughout the 3 years I spent there. The woman told me she would come back soon to fetch me but she only came to receive the salary of my work from the house owners and went back.

It felt like I was suffocating. It slowed down my life and stopped my progress.

When I returned to the village, I was ashamed of myself and I felt too old to go to school because my friends have already gone far in their schooling. I came back home empty-handed, no clothes, no money, nothing! The bosses for whom I worked did not give me anything for the 3 years and as I escaped, I returned to the village with nothing. I told myself that I should have better stayed in my village and continue attending school.

If any of my sisters want to go there, I will tell her there is nothing to earn over there and that it will be better for her to stay and to continue school. 

Thanks to Plan International, I have learned the trade of dress-making. Plan International has supported my apprenticeship and ensure everything is going on well. I have also performed sketches with other young people in the village to explain that we should not accept child trafficking. When I finish my apprenticeship, I will be able to settle down in my own workshop and feel at ease.


Narrative courtesy of Plan International