Nigerian Prostitutes in Italy - Migration and Prostitution


Some of you may have seen these pictures before, I saw them yesterday and I was terribly disturbed. Now, don't get me wrong, I know Italy has it's fair share of prostitutes, a good number of them Nigerian, but in all the documentaries, news, and books, they worked in brothels or backway alleys at night. Seeing the conditions in which these women in the pictures worked was like a punch in my stomach.

A part of me insisted these had to be editorial images, photographed with models, meant to shock. But even if so, I also knew it could be feasible. Some Nigerian women could actually be living and working in environments like these, for money, for whatever. I wanted to blame the Nigerian goverment, I wanted to blame the Italian government, I wanted to blame the women themselves, after all, wouldn't it be better to live in a mud house in Nigeria than be a sex worker in a condom-strewn bush clearing?

But what if this was some person with a camera wanting to paint a single story? It was all doing my head in, so I had to find the origin of the pictures. And I did. The images are real, the women are real, they were shot by Paolo Patrizi, an Italian documentary photographer who now lives in Japan. I found this out on his website, and when I found his number on there, I decided to call him too. We spoke for a few minutes and he confirmed the pictures are geniune and of real working women.