Embarrassed Italy boots 350 Nigerian prostitutes

Are officials getting righteous, or just trying to save face for the domestic red-light scene?

Published November 22, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Nov. 22, 1999

Italians are an emotionally demonstrative folk, renowned for their arm
gesticulations and passionate tirades. People of the booted peninsula
revel in Fellini-esque self-expression, but in 1999 they were rendered
bashful by their Nigerian guests.

In Lagos on Friday, the Italian ambassador admitted that 350 "beautiful"
Nigerian girls between the ages of 18 and 25 were repatriated from Italy last
year because of "their indecent mode of dressing, behavior and their
penchant for sex in open places," reports the Nov. 18 Africa News. The
young women's provocative exhibitionism managed to outrage even chic Milan
and decadent Rome.

The evicted hussies were undoubtedly prostitutes, explained the ambassador,
Giovanni Germano. Over 7,000 Nigerian sex workers currently reside in Italy, he
claimed; the young women are from good families and they arrive "of
unquestionable character" to seek legitimate employment, but they're
quickly lured into the lucrative skin-trade by their flesh pimps.
"Nigerian girls are slaves to the foreigners," the ambassador concluded.

If the gregarious deported gals continue their bodily fluid occupation back
in their homeland, they're playing a dangerous game. A Nov. 16 Village
Voice article reports that in the messy mega-city of Lagos (8 million),
many johns refuse to wear condoms. "If I put it on, my prick can't rise,"
fumes a truck driver. The Society of Women Against AIDS in Africa
estimates that 75 percent of the young prostitutes comply with this request for
unprotected sex, a potentially fatal risk in this heavily infected

Will Italy continue to evict the most obvious Nigerian hookers? Probably.
Dark-skinned immigration into Europe already irritates conservatives; if
Nigerians outdo the locals in their own traditional extroversion, they'll
definitely be getting the boot. An unfortunate policy, if it concludes
with a death sentence from AIDS.

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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