Beyond borders: Human trafficking from Nigeria to the UK
Published date: 17 Jan 2013
Download full publication
This in-depth case study report presents the findings from new research into the causes, processes and effects of human trafficking from Nigeria to the UK. Taking a 'whole of journey' approach, it identifies gaps in understanding, policy, support and response in both countries.
The report focuses on trafficking from Nigeria to the UK as part of a wider programme of research on irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb to Europe. Although some of its recommendations are specific to Nigeria and the UK, others have wider implications for dealing with trafficking in sending, transit and receiving countries.
Looking beyond an anti-trafficking response based on border control, the report provides recommendations for policy and practice in the areas of:
- preventing trafficking
- protecting trafficked people
- prosecuting traffickers
- maximising cooperation within the anti-trafficking network.
Gigi is one of 40 people we interviewed as part of our research involving people who had been trafficked from Nigeria to the UK:
Like many victims of trafficking, as a child Gigi had high hopes for the future. ‘When I was younger, I wanted to do well in school and make my parents proud and get a good job.’ However, her life was changed by a sudden destabilising event: the death, aged 12, of her parents in a religious riot. Crucially, this tragic event also heightened her vulnerability. Months later, now orphaned, a stranger appeared claiming to be a relative of the girl. ‘I had never seen her before but initially I believed this. She told me she would look after me as no one could find my family.’ Instead, she was soon forced by her ‘aunty’ into domestic servitude and her education was abruptly ended.
Though sudden, the move abroad was in many ways a continuation of her situation in Nigeria. Having relocated to London with her exploiter to join the rest of the family, the workload became even worse, and her isolation more complete. ‘I was kept locked in the house for approximately six years. I never left the house from 2003 until 2009. I had to look after the children all day and also at night. I had to prepare their food every two hours and make sure that their nappies were dry. I had to sleep on the floor in the children’s room. I hardly slept and was never given enough food.’ Physical and psychological abuse from her trafficker was a daily reality. ‘Aunty used to beat me regularly. She would use different things: her hand, a belt, wooden cooking spoon, the pipe of the hoover. I had to kneel down in front of her and she would often slap me and beat me on my back.’
Gigi escaped and sought support at a hairdresser. However, this was not the end of her experience of vulnerability. She was afraid to go the police: ‘Aunty said they would arrest me and beat me.’ She drifted between staying with different people she met on the street and in church, but this was unsustainable. ‘There was no room in her house – she was trying to help but I couldn’t stay there.’ She was left homeless and slept out on the streets for six months.
Since receiving support, Gigi has had to rebuild her life slowly after years of trauma and lack of access to education or healthcare. Now her focus is on finally completing the education she was denied for so long, and potentially helping other victims like herself to rebuild their lives. ‘I would like to finish my education and probably get a job and be able to look after myself. And maybe one day [I would like to work] around trafficking, with women who travel back to Nigeria.’ For now, she is awaiting a decision as to whether she can stay in the UK. Her trafficker has not been arrested.
Author(s) : Jenny Pennington - 19 Dec 2013
Author(s) : Jenny Pennington - 12 Feb 2013
Author(s) : Jenny Pennington - 01 Feb 2013
Author(s) : Jenny Pennington - 28 Jan 2013
Author(s) : Myriam Cherti - 24 Jan 2013
Author(s) : Jenny Pennington - 23 Jan 2013
Author(s) : Brhmie Balaram - 18 Jan 2013
You may be interested in...
IPPR in the news
Making it hard for politicians to ignore the young
Telegraph - 07 Mar 2014£100bn red alert over green energy gap
The Independent - 06 Mar 2014Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
The Independent - 06 Mar 2014Will Straw on moving beyond coal power
Guardian - 04 Mar 2014
Ed Cox on Why London is such a powerful force in the UK (2.55 in)
BBC Today - 04 Mar 2014The north holds the key to a better economy
Manchester Everning News - 04 Mar 2014Net migration soars despite Cameron's pledge
Daily Telegraph - 28 Feb 2014NEET generation
The Independent - 27 Feb 2014
More BBC indie commissions, report says
Radio Today - 27 Feb 2014BBC boss wants to extend licence fee to cover iPlayer
Daily Mirror - 27 Feb 2014Scotland: Vote 'Yes' and lose the BBC
The Independent - 27 Feb 2014Indy Scotland would be a vote to “leave” the BBC
The Scotsman - 27 Feb 2014
Tony Hall: extend licence fee to cover iPlayer
The Guardian - 27 Feb 2014Maria Miller says independent Scotland would lose the BBC
The Guardian - 27 Feb 2014Hall vows to protect drama under further cost-cutting
The Stage - 27 Feb 2014Hall proposes licence fee extension to include iPlayer
BBC News Online - 27 Feb 2014
Harman at OMC: 'Daily Mail should apologise'
The Guardian - 27 Feb 2014Time to break London's grip on creative industries
BBC Wales Today - 25 Feb 2014UK's creative industries 'must back regional and ethnic diversity'
The Guardian - 25 Feb 2014Creative industries need to be freed from London's 'closed shop'
WalesOnline - 25 Feb 2014