Belgium reports that individuals with Nigerian nationality constitute the largest group engaged in forced prostitution in the country.
At a press conference in Abuja on Friday, Freddy Roosemont, the Director-General of the Belgian Office for Foreigners, said most Nigerians were tricked into the country with the promise of job offers.
However, he said most of them were being forced into prostitution by traffickers once they arrived in the country.
“The dream is not real, it’s not easy to survive in Europe without a decent job. The dream is fake.
“Belgium is not land of milk and honey, nor is Europe. This was not the case before, but is even less so now, in a world with many crisis hotspots with severe economic consequences”, Roosemont said.
He worried why many Nigerians were still currently seeking asylum in Belgium, adding that he finds it disturbing.
“Asylum is determined on the basis of 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,” the Belgian official said.
He said in 2022, about 362 Nigerian asylum seekers applied, while in 2023, 380 of them applied. He explained that only a few of them got approval for their application.
“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”, he said.
He urged Nigerians to disregard those trying to trick 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.
He assured that the Belgian government supports legal migration and mentioned that about 5,000 Nigerians are living legally in the country.