16:59 GMT24 June 2021
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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting victims of modern slavery in Nigeria, a cause Downing Street says the Prime Minister "has worked passionately to tackle" during her trade trip to the African continent.

    "Modern slavery is one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time and the UK is a world leader in making it an international mission to end this heinous crime," Theresa May says.

    "Today we are stepping up our partnership with Nigerian authorities to find traffickers and bring them to justice."

    However, Professor Bischara Ali Egal, Director of the Horn of Africa Center for Strategic and International Studies told Sputnik Theresa May's visit to the continent is just another "public relations stunt"

    "It's just another publicity stunt by a losing empire who wants to keep on living on the blood sweat and tears of people in Africa," Professor Bischara Ali Egal told Sputnik. 

    Nigeria is the fifth most common country of origin for victims of sexual exploitation trafficked to Britain. The 2017 National Referral Mechanism report states 34 percent of all referrals in 2017 were cases of sexual exploitation.

    Many victims come from Benin city in the southern Edo State of Nigeria, a particularly impoverished part of the country. Here the young girls and women are promised a new life in Europe often entering Britain via Italy only to be enslaved and exploited in the sex industry or as a domestic worker once they arrive in the UK. 

    A sex trafficking ring involving young Nigerian women was recently smashed by Spanish police after a victim managed to escape and tell the authorities of their ordeal. The victims had been brainwashed using a black magic ritual known as juju to make them believe they owed a debt to a spirit. 

    A total of 39 young women and teenagers were rescued, however many are believed to have drowned during the journey made by boat to Europe via Libya and Italy. 

    READ MORE: Spanish Police Smash Sex Trafficking Gang Which Used Black Magic on Victims

    According to the latest Global Slavery Index, more than a million people are thought to be victims of slavery in Nigeria. More than a quarter of the population, 1,386000 people are treated like slaves in the African country.

    The latest statistics released by the British government's National Referral Mechanism (NRM) reveal 1658 referrals for potential victims of modern slavery between April and June 2018, a two percent increase from the previous three months. 

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, modern slavery, Theresa May, Nigeria, Benin, Lagos
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