A row of dirty vans is parked on a broad, tree-lined avenue in the outskirts of Paris. In the dark of night, fluttering candles light up the faces of the women in the front seats.
None of them wear more than their underwear.
Others, wearing miniskirts, stand outside underneath street lamps, facing out onto the empty road.
Nadège was one of these women before she managed to escape.
She is softly spoken. “Even now I don’t have hope for myself,” she says.
“My past already destroyed my future.”
The Bois de Vincennes, a sprawling park on the outskirts of eastern Paris, is home to horse riding schools and a zoo.
It has also been part-commandeered by human traffickers.
Like them, Nadège says she was trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery, at €20 ($23) per client, to pay off a colossal debt to a female Nigerian pimp known as a “madam.”
Nadège, who could not give her real name for safety reasons, grew up in southern Nigeria.
She says that when she was just six, she was raped by a group of neighbors. Her parents sent her to live with an aunt.
But Nadège says her aunt was murdered after refusing a local gangster’s marriage proposal for her niece. Nadège discovered her aunt’s dead body.
At 15, Nadège says, she was raped once again and had her first abortion.
Alone, she was easy prey for traffickers. A madam she met in Lagos promised her a better life in Europe, working as a waitress.
“I was told it was like a paradise,” Nadège tells CNN. “But getting here, it was like from frying pan to fire.”
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) says that recruitment for trafficking to Europe is strongly concentrated in Edo State, in southern Nigeria, the region where Nadège was born.
Before leaving, the madam made Nadège swear an oath at a “juju” temple with a native doctor of Ayelala — a traditional belief system from southern Nigeria.
Nadège swore to repay her madam for sending her to Europe, and to never speak of her oath, or her debt, to anyone. It’s the same for so many Nigerian women trafficked for sex.
Watch The Video below!
This Paris park, home to horse riding schools and a zoo, has a dark side. It’s where Nigerian women are forced into prostitution by human traffickers. The women, forced to swear a terrifying oath, are afraid to speak out. But one did: https://t.co/gfHdwAVU6R pic.twitter.com/FwmaCQ0ig3
— CNN (@CNN) October 4, 2018