On The Road

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Bonifica del Tronto is a ten-mile road located in central Italy. There are many factories and a few houses along this road that ends in a seaside town. Everything seems normal at first glance. A few years ago this road used to be empty and you would hardly ever see somebody walking. But things have changed.

Women stand on the side of the road. They have mattresses hidden behind the bushes where they can immediately satisfy a customer. One man says that everybody pretends that they’ve never been there, but the fact that so many women are still in the area proves that business is booming.

There has been a huge influx of Nigerian women along Bonifica del Tronto. Many of these women have been forced into prostitution. Some of them chose to be there because they were led to believe that this was a normal way to live.

On The Road is an organization that helps girls that have been deceived to move to Europe. They were promised high paying jobs or modeling careers, but were forced into systematized prostitution instead.

The organization’s Cultural Mediator says that she has spoken to thousands of these girls and they all tell the same story. That can’t be a coincidence. It all begins with a person who promises to help them to get rich. First they are taken to a native doctor where fear is implanted in them and they are forced to take a vow of silence. In African terms, that oath is called ‘juju’ and the purpose is so they will never be able to leave the life of prostitution or they will die or get sick.  The few girls that have managed to escape fear for their lives.

They are told that they need to pay back a certain amount to the Madam for the ‘favor’ that is being done for them. The girls innocently believe that because they are moving to a Europe, things will be easy and they will quickly repay the debt. They have no clue that it takes years of slavery to pay off.

Hundreds of women operate as sex workers along this road on the Adriatic coast. Ironically, the name means ‘road of love’ and it has become some sort of haven for human trafficking and sex trade. There is definitely no love there, though.