The murder of a young Nigerian prostitute in Italy, allegedly by her former lover, attracted a huge amount of attention in European media due to the unusual circumstances behind her death.
Daniele Ughetto Piampaschet, a 34-year-old Italian man, has been arrested in the northern town of Turin in connection with the killing of Anthonia Egbuna, a 19-year-old prostitute, whose body was found floating in the River Po in February.
According to Italian media reports, when police later searched Egbuna’s apartment, they found a short story written by Piampaschet called “La rosa e il leone” (“The Rose and The Lion”) with a plot that seemed to match the details of her murder.
It was later revealed that Piampaschet had fallen in love with Egbuna, had a relationship with her and demanded that she quit working the streets. After she refused, he allegedly stabbed her to death in a jealous rage.
Piampaschet’s lawyer, Stefano Tizzani, told Reuters that his client is innocent and that “he wrote the story and gave it to her as a gift — to make himself look good.”
While the Piampaschet-Egbuna saga may sound like a thriller, the bitter fact is that Egbuna is only one of thousands of Nigerian girls and women who have been trafficked to Europe to toil as sex workers. Lured by false promises of high-paying jobs in such glamorous European capitals as Rome, Paris and Brussels, the girls soon find themselves trapped in a web of organized crime, violence and prostitution.
These women are exploited and abused by criminal gangs in both their native Nigeria and Europe.
According to Nigeria’s National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons, or Naptip, 60 percent of prostitutes in Italy and Belgium, particularly in the cities of Turin and Antwerp, are of Nigerian descent.
“The magnitude of this phenomenon and its consequences are considerable and call for concerted action by government and civil society,” said Naptip Executive Secretary Beatrice Jedy-Agba.