“Noemi is 19 years old and we meet her one evening in an empty vending machine, where she listens to music with headphones while waiting for customers. She tells us that she has been on the street for about a year and will take at least two more years of work on the street to pay off her debt (on average they take 2-4 years). Almost all the girls manage to save a small monthly fee to send to the family (there’s who sends 50 Euros, who sends 200 Euros): they often have younger brothers to whom, in this way, they manage to guarantee a more dignified life than they have had, and maybe allow them to receive an education. Noemi has big, sad and crazy eyes. She tells us (she only speaks English) that it’s okay for her to stay there, “it’s a job like any other” she says .. But the cry of her gaze communicates something else: loneliness and despair. But the Nigerians love life and when one of her friends reaches us from the sidewalk, they dance to the sound of music, laugh and joke. Noemi shows us a crucifix hidden under her jacket and says she is a Christian. She also says she can sing: we shiver when she sings some Christian gospel with her angel voice, in that empty distributor .. “
In this blog we are getting to know and reflecting on stories of girls who are victims of prostitution. Some stories are with a happy ending, others unfortunately are tragic. Noemi’s story is not with a happy ending but there is a “glimmer of light” in it when emphasis is given to her passion for the gospel with which she expresses her faith, despite her situation which has nothing positive. This is why we call “anti-trafficking heroes” figures like Noemi because they manage to move forward in truly future-free situations.
It is also right to remember the statistical data of the victims: in Italy too, the victims of trafficking are around 120,000 with an estimated number of customers of 3,000,000 people. The turnover is 90 million Euros per year. 37% of street prostitutes are aged between 13 and 17, so minors. However, in the world, a total of 21 million people are prostituted. Among them, 18% are men, 12% are children, 21% are girls. All scandalous but unfortunately true data.