The Belgian Government has said Nigerians constitute the highest number of people forced into prostitution in the European country.
The Director-General of the Belgian Office for Foreigners, Freddy Roosemont, disclosed this during a press conference held in Abuja, on Friday.
Roosemont said, “The dream is not real. It is not easy to survive in Europe without a decent job. The dream is fake. Belgium is not the land of milk and honey, nor is Europe. The highest number of forced prostitutes in Belgium are Nigerians.
“Once in Belgium, they apply for asylum, but this makes little sense. Asylum is determined based on the Geneva Convention and economic motives are not included. Therefore the recognition rate for asylum is very low and the chances of obtaining a residence permit are almost non-existent.
“We then see some trying to move to other countries within Europe, but there they will also see that they have already requested asylum in Belgium. Consequently, this European country will send them back to Belgium from where they will have to return to Nigeria.
“As a consequence, people are forced to live in irregular stay, without a social safety net, in precarious conditions. They risk economic exploitation and women risk ending up in prostitution.”
The DG added that “no fewer than 362 Nigerian migrants sought asylum in 2022 while 380 of them applied in 2023,” adding that only a few of them got their application granted.
He urged Nigerians to ignore those trying to deceive them into embarking on the journey to Europe without admission to a university, a job offer from a Belgian company, or an invitation from a family member to relocate.
“Do not invest money for the very risky journey through the Mediterranean nor fill the pockets of human traffickers. Invest in your education, building on the realisation of your dreams in Nigeria. A stay in Belgium, through regular channels, can be a useful complement,” the DG added.