Spain grants trafficked woman asylum in legal first

Red Cross describes “case of hope” for other victims of human trade

Madrid -

The Interior Ministry has granted asylum to a young Nigerian woman and her three-year-old daughter in the first case of its kind where such protection has been given in Spain. The woman had fallen prey to a human-trafficking ring after an arduous two-year journey across Africa and the Strait, during which she was repeatedly raped, forced to prostitute herself and obliged to have two abortions, which were carried out in medically unsound conditions.

According to Rosa Flores of the Red Cross, which has been handling the case, “when she arrived in Spain, just a few hours after being brought to a center, the traffickers found her and demanded she pay them 20,000 euros. She was told that if she didn’t, she would be taken away and forced into prostitution to cover the debt.”

That was when she decided to confront the traffickers, refusing to pay the money and seeking asylum because “they knew exactly where she was at all times. Many of the women that arrived with her have disappeared because of the huge pressure they are put under,” said Flores.

The police say that in Spain there are more than 12,000 victims of trafficking rings, which generate around five million euros per day for the mafias that control them.

Flores calls the Nigerian woman’s story a case for hope, but said that Spain still lacks the mechanisms that exist in other countries to aid victims of trafficking.

“It has not been easy but it is great news because it is the first time our government has granted this protection,” she said. “It is relevant for other victims, who may be able to seek this protection in the future, and it will help many more people to go to the police.”

The Spanish Network against Human Trafficking has called on the government to do more to meet its obligations and to debate new legislation to combat the trade in people.

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