“In Nigeria I had nothing. My mum died when I was 10 and my dad has abandoned us. We grew up with our grandmother but now she is old so I have to provide for her. I had no future in Nigeria and friends suggested that I go to Libya to work. I left Nigeria when I was 17. I found my dad just before I left Nigeria because I wanted to see his face for once. I did not even know what he looked like and I did not know when I would come back to Nigeria. So I saw him and then left. The journey is very difficult. They put about 50 of us in the back of a pickup truck for about two to three weeks, without water and food. We would stop on the way to sleep on the roadside and we would use the empty jerry cans used for the car fuel and fill it with water and drink from there. People have died while crossing the desert due to the lack of water in the summer and in the winter some people die in their sleep because of the cold. I saw people dying from the cold.
When we arrived in Libya, I lived in an abandoned building along with other Africans. We had to pay around 400 Libyan Dinars (100 EUR) per month for this building. Then, I started working as a maid. I was staying with a Libyan family and I was taking care of the house and the children. It was an extended family of about 20 people and it was very stressful to me. They did not behave in a nice way to me and they did not give me the money they promised me but I could not do much because if you are a black woman in Libya and you complain about such things they will take you to the police and you will end up in jail. Then I started working as a cleaner for different houses. It was better for me as I could be more independent and the money I was making was better. One day, a group of Libyan men stormed into our accommodation and they tried to rape us (the women). One of them had a saw and tried to hit us with it. I was fighting with him so he does not rape me and he hit me with the saw. I have a big scar on my skull. I could not even go to the hospital because I have no documents and they do not accept undocumented people in the hospitals. As a black woman you cannot do anything in Libya. You live in constant fear. You cannot walk anywhere during the day because someone will kidnap you, torture you, rape you and forced you into prostitution. I had videos on my phone of people using sharp objects and cutting the skin of women but my phone was lost in the sea during the rescue. I know a lot of women who have been tortured and raped in the jails. After they escape they come and stay with us.
People have died while crossing the desert due to the lack of water in the summer
I want to go to Europe and study English literature. I like reading. I have not talked to my grandmother since I left because I did not want her to be upset. I will speak to her only when I arrive in Europe so she can be happy about me.”