Belgium is a leading destination for prostitution rings preying on Nigerian minors

Belgium is a leading destination for prostitution rings preying on Nigerian minors

Thousands of underaged Nigerians are made to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, where many are forced into prostitution. According to the International Office on Migration (IOM), of the 3,000 minors who arrived in Europe in 2016, a large number ended up in Belgium. However, only 20 unaccompanied Nigerian minors were recorded in the country in that year, the federal migration centre, Myria, said in its annual report, published on Monday.

These figures show clearly that “Belgium still has considerable efforts to make with regard to the detection of victims of the traffic in minor human beings,” the report stated. “It is important for the institution to intensify and diversify its training for frontline actors (magistrates, guardians, youth-aid services).”

The report added that many of these services and persons were “insufficiently aware of the indicators of the traffic in human beings”.

The centre feels that when these minors are found, and the special procedure for granting them permission to stay in Belgium is applied, the shelter they are given is not adapted to their situation. “They need to be given shelter in safe structures” like the Esperanto Centre which, however, is not recognised, says Myria. A centre of that nature also needs to be opened in Flanders, which has none, it added.

To alleviate these problems and improve the support for endangered minors as much as possible, Myria is calling for the establishment by the Interdepartmental Policy Coordination Unit of a group of independent experts tasked with coming up with concrete proposals for dealing with the challenges of detecting, protecting and accommodating these victims.

The Brussels Times

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