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Every year thousands of West Africans migrate to Europe in search of a better life. But for some, that search will end in tragedy as they fall victim to organised crime gangs.

In one area of southern Italy, thousands of women from Nigeria are trapped in a nightmare world of prostitution.

Many are trafficked illegally by Nigerian criminals, who deceive them with promises of regular jobs.

Italy has an estimated 10,000 madams, each controlling an average of two or three girls per year.

Once a trafficked girl reaches Europe, she has to pay off debts to her madam of up to $85,000. It will take her at least five years.

Madams confiscate the girls' passports to stop them from escaping and charge them for rent, clothes and food.

Threatened with violence if they do not comply, the girls also have to run risks with their clients.

Al Jazeera's Juliana Ruhfus reports from southern Italy.

Source: Al Jazeera