Credits: IOM 2017


In 2017, Promise hopped on a boat crammed with 60 other passengers headed to Italy. Soon after reaching Italian shores, the promise of a job at a hair salon vanished, and she was forced into prostitution instead. The Nigerian woman was forced to work for 12 hours at a time in 40-degree heat before Sicilian police rescued and referred her to IOM, the UN Migration Agency for protection.


Unfortunately, Promise’s story is not an isolated case, but a poignant reminder of the risks that migrants face on their journeys toward greener pastures. One of these risks is human trafficking, a scourge that thousands of Nigerians are exposed to as many of them continue to move irregularly.


In Nigeria, IOM’s primary counter-trafficking function is assisting victims, but other strategies have been adopted to combat this issue. For example, IOM has led awareness raising initiatives, taking its message to millions of households. In 2017, it announced the release of “The Missing Steps”, a mini-series that alerts Nigerian youth to the pitfalls of irregular migration, including falling prey to smugglers and traffickers. The mini-series was aired on NTA, Africa’s Largest TV network, reaching over 100 million viewers, and it starred a cast of actors from Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming, multi-billion-dollar film industry.  


Read more: UN Migration/Medium