Slavery in Europe

BBC report claims African children are being trafficked into Europe and held as slaves or sexual objects.

A report by BBC Radio 4 Programme Today has revealed shocking information about children being sold in Africa and brought to Europe, the promise of a marvellous future soon turning into a nightmare.

Promised a good education and a high standard of living for the child, parents of impoverished and numerous families in Africa are willing to sell their offspring. Documents are easy to obtain for the right amount of US dollars and the buyer can then take the child as a son or daughter or re-sell to a relative or acquaintance in Europe, who can in turn use the child to claim residence or welfare benefits.

The reality is often very different from what is promised. These children are in many cases beaten, raped, held in conditions of slavery or abused as sexual slaves, sometimes for years. Others are killed.

The case of Victoria Climbie, from the Ivory Coast, is an example of the evil which can be waiting for these children the second they disembark in Europe, hoping for a new beginning.

In Britain, Victoria, eight, was tied up like an animal, beaten, burnt, tortured and forced to sit in a freezing bath. Seven months after daily doses of extreme cruelty, she died, her debilitated body showing over 120 wounds.

Another child, Mary, went to Britain from Benin when she was seven years old. She was held as a slave for tem years, forced to work 17 hours a day, being beaten and starved regularly.

Not only girls are victims. Debe, a 13-year-old boy, was sold to an Italian homosexual. For three years, he was held as a sexual slave, abused by the Italian and a ring of paedophiles. He was also severely beaten, every day, and fed on cat food. After escaping, he fled back to the Ivory Coast. However, he is a prisoner of his past. “I can’t even look at myself in the mirror”, he told the BBC journalists.

It is not easy to tackle these cases effectively, as Karin Astrom, leader of Save the Children in the Ivory Coast, pointed out. She declared that poverty is at the root of the problem. Eradicating poverty has to be done also at the local level and while officials can be corrupted with a handful of notes, the real situation will always be covered up and difficult to attack.

Greater care when issuing entry visas at Embassies and Consulates, coupled with stricter control on children entering European countries would be an immediate measure to consider for legislation.


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