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Strategy The numbers behind Nigeria's rise as Africa's human trafficking hotbed

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Number of young African girls trafficked to Europe for prostitution has reached an alarming level.

play An overcrowded boat shipping African migrants to Europe. (Time Magazine)

The number of young African girls trafficked to Europe for prostitution has increased by almost 600 percent in the first half of this year.

Nigeria has been identified as the main country from which the majority of the sex trafficking victims come from according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“IOM estimates that 80 percent of girls arriving from Nigeria – whose numbers have soared from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,009 in 2016 – are potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation,” the report claims.

Sexual exploitation of African migrants in Europe is terrifying as majority of victims are young girls, that is according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

“Trafficking is a transnational crime that devastates the lives of thousands of people and is the cause of untold suffering,” says Federico Soda, director of the IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean.

“This is a theme we have been working on for years, committing to protect, prevent, and collaborate with the authorities dealing with organised crime.”

The IOM came to this conclusion after it collected information at the various landing sites and reception centres for migrants in different parts of southern Italy.

The IOM functions with the aim of identifying potential victims and assisting those who escape their exploiters and are willing to accept its support.

IOM Project Manager Carlotta Santarossa says the principal purpose of the report, whose English version will be released soon, was to highlight the painful reality of the hateful form of slavery being meted out on defenceless migrants.

Santarossa  also called on all relevant agencies to carry out an urgent data analysis and an examination of the market that these girls supply as well as the growing demand for paid sexual services.

Libya has become the main transit point for hundreds of thousands of African refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.

This mass exodus has brought in its wake an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with thousands of migrants, including unaccompanied children, dying on their way to Europe.