Trafficking of Nigerian women to Italy for sexual exploitation has over the years been a source of concern to the Italian and Nigerian governments. This concern arose due to high numbers of Nigerian trafficked women in Italy, the sexual and physical violence experienced by them. In response to this, the Italian government created a social protection program (Article 18) for victims subject to situations of violence and extreme exploitation. This study undertakes a critical analysis of counter-trafficking measures in Italy, in relation to the experiences of Nigerian sex workers in the city of Turin. The experiences of Nigerian sex workers in this city are diverse and complicated. Most of the women are undocumented, making them highly vulnerable. This research found out that the majority of sexually exploited undocumented sex workers apply for political asylum. Whilst this application is being processed, before the majority are rejected, the women are victims to the exploitation of traffickers. Though the Italian social protection program has been a saving grace for some fortunate beneficiaries, it does not fully address the insecurities faced daily by Nigerian sex workers. One of the short-comings of Article 18 is that it chooses to protect victims only if they suffer severe forms of violence and if the information provided by victims helps in the arrest of traffickers. These conditions have led to the exclusion of some of the most sexually exploited and undocumented Nigerian sex workers in Turin from effective protection, in cases where they do not meet these criteria.

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Heumann, Silke
Conflict, Reconstruction and Human Security (CRS)
International Institute of Social Studies

Baye, Eneze Modupe‐Oluwa. (2012, December 14). Experiences of Nigerian Trafficked Women : Voices and Perspectives from Italy. Conflict, Reconstruction and Human Security (CRS). Retrieved from