Last year, almost a thousand Nigerian asylum seekers disappeared without a trace from Dutch reception centers: an explosive increase. There are many signs of human trafficking and even baby trafficking is a serious scenario.
Argos and NRC were given access to a large number of recent reports from the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) about signals of human trafficking among asylum seekers from Nigeria, including pregnant women. Figures from the COA obtained with the Access To Information Act (wob) also show that Nigerian asylum seekers are disappearing in large numbers from the reception.
The reports of human trafficking and disappearances are related to a strong growth in the number of Nigerian asylum seekers who arrive to the Netherlands (2,461 in 2019).
A limited number have been returned to Nigeria or Italy – an important European arrival country for Nigerian asylum seekers. However, at least 961 of them disappeared from the Dutch shelter with an “unknown destination”. Nobody knows where they are and what happened to them. In January of 2020 alone, another 128 Nigerian asylum seekers disappeared.
The graph below demonstrates the explosive rise of Nigerians that disappeared from shelters in The Netherlands.
Human trafficking networks
The reports from the COA indicate that criminal Nigerian organizations have gained a foothold in Europe. Many of the recently disappeared Nigerians – both men and women – say they have previously been forced into prostitution or drug smuggling and trafficking.
Lost in Europe revealed that dozens of heavily pregnant West African women have disappeared from Dutch shelters. The Lost of Europe journalists are investigating whether the fears of baby trade can be confirmed.
Read the full articles published by NRC Handelsblad and Argos here (in Dutch).
More publications on the disappearances of Nigerian asylum seekers can be found on the Lost in Europe website.
Do you want to support the journalists in their investigations? Do you have tips or evidence that can assist them in revealing more stories on human trafficking? You can reach them via this ‘tip’ page.
Photo: © ANP.