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Sergio Ramazzotti October 22, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nigeria.
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Ego, a rural village near Benin City, Nigeria 2009

Sergio Ramazzotti (b.1965 , Italy) he has written and photographed more than two hundred stories in as many countries for most of the leading Italian and international magazines. As a writer and novelist, he published Vado verso il capo (Feltrinelli 1996), currently used as a textbook at the IULM University in Milano, where he is a regular lecturer at the Faculty of Sociology. His other books include: Afrozapping, a collection of African stories (2006), the novel Tre ore all’alba , set in Iraq (2005). His book on Afghanistan titled Afghanistan 2.0 was just published. In 2005 he won the Enzo Baldoni Prize for Journalism of the Province of Milano, and the International Photography Award (Los Angeles) in the “Editorial” category. He is one of the founders of the photojournalism agency Parallelo zero.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is from a feature I shot in Nigeria titled ‘Stories of ordinary slavery’. Every year, at least 50,000 girls travel from Nigeria (mostly from Benin City, one of the country’s poorest cities) to Europe. A trafficker, with the help of a voodoo, or juju, priest, who makes them swear an oath of allegiance and convinces them that a decent job awaits them in the promised land. The journey is often nightmarish, trying to reach the coast of Italy or Spain on a precarious rubber boat. Many of the girls die of fatigue or drown at sea before reaching their destination. Those who make it, soon realize that the promised job does not exist: after their papers are seized by the traffickers, they are sent on the street as prostitutes. Sometimes, one of them manages to escape her captors and, back in Nigeria, to find the courage to denounce the people who trafficked her. This is the situation in the photograph: the girl on the left, barely 20 years old, is confronting the woman who sold her to the traffickers, after the police has taken both of them to the juju shrine, where the oath has been revoked.”

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