“After the Oba’s pronouncement, many victims have been coming to give information on their experience … to say these are the people that played one role or the other in trafficking us,” said Josiah Emerole, head of investigations at NAPTIP.
“I don’t have numbers right now but I know that there has been a higher increase since then.”
Florence testified against her trafficker before the curse was lifted and soon worried she had paid a high price.
“When I decided to testify, my mother was afraid … A lot of people were afraid,” said the 24-year-old, who returned to Nigeria in 2017 after five years of sex work in Russia.
When she began feeling unwell, months after testifying against the woman who forced her into sex work in Russia, her family worried she had been struck by black magic.
“They told me: ‘Are you sure that is not what is happening?'” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in her hairdressing salon in Benin, capital city of Edo State.
Florence said she knows of sex workers in Europe who have walked out on their traffickers since the Oba’s curse, refusing to pay their debts and setting up shop on their own instead.
A number of these women have uploaded videos to YouTube.