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Surviving trafficking in Nigeria

Surviving trafficking: Hannah and Esther

Please note: this page contains references to sexual violence and abuse which some people may find upsetting

Hannah* and Esther* were both trafficked to Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. Today, they’re living in a safe house, learning new skills and receiving the support they need to rebuild their lives.

A girl stands at a window


“When I was living with my parents, life was better for me. I was going to school. My parents loved me. But when they broke up I found life difficult.

“My father married another woman and she mistreated us. Nobody was there to take care of me. I had to go to my grandmother. Then my grandmother died.

“A friend told me I should come to Abuja where there is money, where there is a job. She took me to a woman, who took me to a house where they were doing prostitution. There were so many girls there. She took advantage of them. Now I am a survivor of prostitution.

“Here I am living my life confidently. I want to go to school, so I can read and write and become a lawyer.

“I want things to be better for girls and I want trafficking to stop in Nigeria. I don’t want other girls to go through what I went through.”

A girl looks up at a tree


“I was a girl with a very big dream. I wanted to be a doctor, but it didn’t work out. I lost my dad when I was eight years old and then everything became tougher for my mum, my siblings and me.

“I came to Abuja with two girls. A woman picked us up and we went to a hotel. I had to start sleeping with men – all kinds of men. She said if I didn’t, I’d have to pay her all the money back [for the journey].

“Every day I kept bringing money for her. I didn’t know anyone in Abuja. I didn’t tell anybody about it. I didn’t want my life to be that, I was forced into it.

“Here I have learned how to forgive, how to move on and forget about my past. I’m a caterer and I will become a chef. I think I still have the passion of going to school. I want to help someone in the future, that’s what I want to do.

“My hope is that this issue of trafficking will stop. As far as the campaign is concerned, I know that something will come out of it – something good and special. If all the community come together with one voice the government will hear us.”

Discover more: read Tama and Gift’s stories >

*Names have been changed to protect identities


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