Abuja: Nigeria`s anti-human trafficking body says around 40,000 girls from the oil rich African country have been forced into prostitution in the nearby West African nation of Mali.
National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) executive secretary Simon Egede said a trip to the West African country revealed this.
"I led a team from NAPTIP on a fact-minding mission to Mali this month after receiving reports about slave camps inhabited by Nigerian girls in Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Libya, Morocco and Cape Verde," Egede said, adding that he discovered that the number of trafficked persons was between 20,000 to 40,000.
He said the girls were taken abroad for prostitution by female agents who subject them to degradable conditions in brothels.
"I visited two brothels and could not stand it anymore when I saw how the girls sat on two wooden platforms facing each other numbering about 40," he said.
Poverty has been identified as the reason behind human trafficking in Nigeria as most of the women get promises of better living standard before departing the country.
Initially, the destination had been Europe but the NAPTIP`s claim has uncovered a new angle which implies that the illegal business thrives within the African continent.