Leslie Ibeanusi

Leslie Ibeanusi (Transnational AIDS Prevention among Migrant Prostitutes in Europe Project – TAMPEP): Leslie earned her BS in biology at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia (2001-2005). In 2005, she was crowned as the inaugural Miss Nigeria in America, where she represented young Nigerian women of the diaspora. Since then, she has become passionately involved in global health and social justice issues affecting women and children in African countries. She had also co-founded a nonprofit called Making Noise Inc, which uses the arts and media to raise awareness of social justice issues in Africa countries. At the time of her fellowship, Leslie had just graduated from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she received her Master's in public health with a concentration in global health promotion.

Trafficking in Turin

11 Jun

Last Thursday (June 7- my third day in Italy), I attended “Luna e I falo”, a regional conference on trafficking on Corso Stati Uniti, a main street in Turin. There were several hundred people there, all to discuss trafficking issues around Turin. Groups from Asti, Rome, and throughout the Piedmont region were well represented. TAMPEP was perhaps the only organization with programs in countries outside Italy. It was simply amazing! In the U.S, trafficking issues are not as in the forefront as it is here in Turin, nor have I seen a conference on this issue of that scale.

There are many groups working on this issue in the area. PIAM Onlus was another great group that was represented. Similar to TAMPEP, they serve women that have been illegally trafficked to the area and provide shelters, clothing, and counselling for them. They also produced videos for these girls to show them how to seek medical checkups and seek help from police.

Since the entire conference was in Italian, portions of it were interpreted through one of my English speaking co-workers. I learned something new- Juju or witchcraft is not just used with African trafficking victims to trap them into coming to Italy. This method is used with Albanian and Romanian women as well. Just to give you all background: In many countries, where trafficking is prevalent, traffickers use witchcraft to force their victims into going overseas and scaring them into doing this illicit work. They take samples of their underarm and pubic hair and menstrual flow and perform rituals with them. Traffickers tell the girls, that after performing these rites, they or their family members will be harmed if they escape from their madams or return to Nigeria with no money. Because these things are often common to some of these cultures, the girls believe it and are afraid to report their traffickers.

The conference was valuable and well planned. However, I was surprised to see that for a conference on immigrant issues and trafficking, there were only 2 immigrant speakers throughout the whole convention. There needs to be more representation among the immigrant population regarding this issue…a revolution needs to happen…

Posted By Leslie Ibeanusi

Posted Jun 11th, 2007

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