Underage African women trapped in a vicious cycle of prostitution in Brussels
Girls in underwear pose in squalid rooms of converted shops along the narrow streets of Saint-Josse, near Brussels Gare du Nord. African women sell their bodies for as little as 20 euros. Barely half the rate charged by Western prostitutes. Outside the rates are even lower. 5 euros for a young Nigerian. A price that shocks even some customers. &amp;amp;quot;They make big gestures to try to attract us . Regarding the price, those women are ready to do a lot of things for little money. You can see that they are very nervous, the women who need to get the money - Sometimes I wonder if they are 18 years old because they seem to be very young,&amp;amp;quot; says one anonymous client. Nigerian prostitutes number in their hundreds in Belgium. All victims of human trafficking, some are just 14 years old, a problem that is growing in the country. Katja Fournier, coordinator of the platform 'Minors in exile' said &amp;amp;quot;It's a brothel madam who contacts families who are often relatively poor, promising a great future for the girls: they will go to school, they will be babysitters.&amp;amp;quot; &amp;amp;quot;And they make a contract; often with a voodoo ritual that will commit the girl to repaying the debt which will be fixed between 40 and 70 thousand euros.&amp;amp;quot; &amp;amp;quot;The ritual makes sure that she feels the life of her mother, her siblings or her own life is in her hands - so she must repay it&amp;amp;quot;. The police say they will tackle the problem head on.... but the reality is that it's a vicious circle that's difficult to get out of. The girls are often exploited by former prostitutes who have become pimps. Once their debt is repaid after many years , these girls become madams themselves.