Dona. From A Disquieting Intimacy, 2007–2011
Edition of 7 + 2 AP
Sheet size A2 (420 x 594 mm)
Ultrachrome Pigmentprint on Innova Smooth Cotton Natural White Archival Paper 300 g/sqm
Print number: PP1200X-10
The phenomenon of foreign women who line the roadsides of Italy has become a notorious fact of Italian life. These women work in sub-human conditions; they are sent out without any hope of regularizing their legal status and can be easily transferred into criminal networks. Many are Africans who work as prostitutes in order to send money home to their families. For nearly twenty years the women of Benin City - a town in the state of Edo in the south-central part of Nigeria - have been going to Italy to work in the sex trade. Successful ones have since been recruiting younger girls to follow them.
The Nigerian trafficking industry is fueled by the combination of widespread emigration aspirations and severely limited possibilities for migration to Europe. The term “trafficking of persons” is restricted to instances where people are deceived, threatened, or coerced into situations of exploitation, including prostitution. Most migrant women, including those who end up in the sex industry, have made a clear decision to leave home and take their chances overseas. They are headstrong and ambitious women who migrate in order to escape conflict, persecution, environmental degradation, natural disasters and other situations that affect their habitat and livelihood.
Ensuring a better future for one’s family in Nigeria is a principal motivation for emigration within and outside the trafficking networks. Working abroad is therefore often seen as the best strategy for escaping poverty. The success of many Italos, as these women are called, is evident in Edo. This prostitution in Italy has become an entirely acceptable trade and the legend of their success makes the fight against sex traffickers all the more difficult. – Paolo Patrizi