This module is a resource for lecturers

Student assessment

The students can choose one of the following two options of assessment and address in an essay no longer than 3,000 words the questions or themes of discussion being proposed.

The assignment is based on material and matters addressed in the Module, as well as on the individual research of students.

Option 1

In recent years (2014-2017), Italy has experienced a surge in the number of migrants arriving via the Mediterranean Sea, in clear majority departing from Libya.

Among refugees and other migrants, there has been a significant increase of migrant women and girls coming from Nigeria. While not being new (since the 1990s), concern regarding the potential trafficking of Nigerian women and girl migrants into the sex trade in Italy (and to other European countries) has resurfaced. The International Organization for Migration estimates that 80 per cent of the women and girls arriving in dinghies to Italy are potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Read the following article and watch the video:

Box 27

Number of Nigerian women trafficked to Italy for sex almost doubled in 2016

Life of forced prostitution awaits majority of the 11,009 Nigerian women who arrived on Italy's shores last year, says International Organization for Migration.

The number of Nigerian women travelling by boat from Libya to Italy almost doubled last year, with the vast majority of new arrivals victims of sex trafficking and exploitation, according to the International Organization for Migration. The IOM believes approximately 80 percent of the 11,009 Nigerian women registered at landing points in Sicily in 2016 were trafficked, and will go on to live a life of forced prostitution in Italy and other countries in Europe.

The figure is almost double that of 2015, when 5,600 women were registered by the IOM. The 2016 figures represent an almost eightfold increase from 2014, when 1,450 Nigerian women were registered at landing points in Sicily.

"We have seen a huge increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving last year," said Carlotta Santarossa, a counter-trafficking project manager for the IOM. "According to our indicators we believe the majority of Nigerian women who are arriving into Italy are victims of trafficking and are likely to end up exploited in Italy or other European countries. In Italy the numbers are too high to provide all of them with the services they need."

The IOM said the increase reflected a dramatic rise in the overall numbers of Nigerian men, women and children being registered at landing points in Italy. According to the agency's latest figures, 37,500 of the 180,000 migrants arriving in Italy by sea last year were Nigerian, the first time they have eclipsed Eritreans as the largest national group. The total number for 2015 was 22,000. About 3,000 of the 37,000 Nigerian migrants were unaccompanied minors.

Alberto Mossino, director of Piam Onlus, an anti-trafficking NGO working with Nigerian migrants, said the increase in Nigerians arriving by sea is indicative of the power of the highly organized trafficking gangs operating alongside Libyan militias to control migrant flows from north Africa.

"Before, migrants could arrive alone in Libya and make their way by boat to Europe," he said. "Now, it is too dangerous: there is civil war and it is only the Nigerian and Eritrean trafficking gangs who are able to transport large numbers of people through the country, where militias are controlling the borders and ports. These are not smuggling gangs, their intention is to exploit and profit from the migrants they are transporting along the way, and women are the most lucrative cargo." […]

Mossino said existing anti-trafficking services were at gridlock, with the Italian government providing only 1,600 places for victims of trafficking at specialist shelters. "If there are 11,000 women arriving in one year, there is simply no way of providing them with any help or security," he said. "There is nothing we can do to help them."

Source: The Guardian

Watch the short video Number of Nigerian women trafficked to Italy for sex almost doubled in 2016 by The Guardian (app. 9 min).

Questions and themes of discussion for the short essay:

  • Engage critically with the article in The Guardian by responding to the question: What is the narrative behind the article? How does it impact on the perception of female irregular migration?
  • Please do a brief research on the phenomenon of Nigerian migration to Italy (statistics and media coverage) and provide an analysis on how the migration of men is perceived? In contrast, how is the migration of women perceived?

In addition, to gain a critical perspective on the topic, encourage the students to watch the short documentary, Becky's Journey (app. 24 min), telling the story of Becky, a Nigerian woman who wants to migrate to Europe to sell sex.

Option 2

Students identify a real-life illustrative example of smuggling of migrants, which describes the experiences, realities, and circumstances under which the facilitator(s) of irregular migration perform their smuggling activities. The student can either choose a situation involving men or one involving women. The case example can be found either in a court case database, NGOs report or another research report, or from news articles.

The student should then provide a gender analysis of the case. Some of the following questions can be taken into consideration:

  • What were the reasons for the person to start this business? How did gender influence or shape the circumstances and pathways to getting involved in smuggling?
  • What kind of role and task is the person performing?
  • How are the relationships with migrants? Can you identify some patterns or dynamics that are influenced by gender aspects?

Option 3

Find a TIP case for sexual exploitation or the exploitation of the prostitution of others. Analyse the facts and the court decision, and provide a gender analysis of:

  • Factors of vulnerability
  • Elements of coercion
  • The interpretation given by the court on the offence of trafficking
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