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AFP
October 19, 2019

Rise in trafficking of Ivorian women, girls to Europe

World

AFP
October 19, 2019

ROME: An increasing number of women and girls from Ivory Coast are being trafficked to Northern Africa and Europe, the International Organisation for Migration warned on Friday.

Anti-trafficking teams have noted a rise in the numbers making the Mediterranean crossing, along with a rise in pleas for help at landing points in Italy, IOM said in a note to mark European Anti-Trafficking Day.

The women and girls are often destined for lives of slavery or prostitution, said Laurence Hart, head of the Mediterranean coordination office. "Many are recruited in their country with the promise of being given employment as maids or waitresses and become, instead, victims of domestic servitude upon arriving in Tunisia or Libya," he said.

There they are "subjected to sexual abuse, mistreatment, violence and deprivation of personal freedom". They are then often preyed upon a second time by smugglers who "intend on exploiting them upon their arrival to Italy, or other countries of the European Union," he said.

While there has been a drop in the total number of Ivorian migrants arriving by sea in Italy, the percentage of women and girls involved has risen, IOM said.

They made up just eight percent of the total number of Ivorians who landed in 2015 -- before jumping to 46 percent in 2019, it said. "Behind the numbers, there are many tragic stories, of which we often know too little," Hart said.

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