CALABAR - According to a 2013 study conducted by Paris-based charity Foot Solidaire, about 15,000 young boys from West Africa are trafficked to Europe each year by fake football agents promising them trials with top football clubs in exchange for a lot of money from their families.
Once in Europe, they are abandoned after parting with their family’s life savings. Of those who are lucky enough to actually make it to any trials, the ones that fail are abandoned by the agents who no longer see their economic value.
They are left with no money, too ashamed to let their families back at home know the truth. They overstay their visa and become destitute on the streets of Europe.
With this staggeringly high number of trafficked children, it is surprising that Foot Solidaire is the only organisation in the whole of Europe specifically set up to help...
This working grant was funded through Journalismfund.eu's Connecting Continents programme.
The investigation was carried out by a cross-border team comprising of Yemisi Akinbobola, Paul Bradshaw and Ogechi Ekeanyawu; with additional work by David Blood, Leila Haddou, Caroline Beavon, and members of Hacks/Hackers Birmingham.
The project was the winner of the CNN African Journalists Awards 2016.
Photo © Phil Hilfiker
- 'INVESTIGATION: How Nigerian young footballers are trafficked, abused, abroad' (Premium Times, 7th December 2015)
- 'Follow The Money — Who extracts the value of Nigerian football players?' (IQ4News, 1st December 2015)