The kitty launched by the Roya citizen association will not have been in vain. Thanks to an outpouring of solidarity, parallel to legal action, the fate of two Nigerian women threatened with deportation is benefiting from an upturn.
A time housed in Breil, Yasmina and Julia (the first names have been changed, note) had to give up their accommodation in septembere, in the context of an Obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), while their temporary residence permit had not been renewed. Except that both had obtained it as a victim of human trafficking in Italy, after fleeing Nigeria where they had been recruited by mafia networks.
“I didn’t sleep at night”
Seized, justice ruled in their favor. By decision of November 8 and December 29, the administrative court of Nice ordered the re-examination of their file and the issue of a residence permit as a victim of trafficking. As provided for in the Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings, adopted in Warsaw on May 16, 2005 – and signed by France on May 22, 2006 – insofar as the two young mothers have cooperated with the authorities, denouncing their former pimps.
In an article relating this case, published on January 7, Mediapart indicates that the two women fear reprisals.
“I filed a complaint because the threats were too much. These people [les membres du réseau – ndlr] work together, they have their papers in Italy, they live well. I didn’t sleep at night”testified the first.
“The network continued to threaten my family, who are in Nigeria, as soon as I escaped. They went to my mother to say that I had to start work again, otherwise they would take my children”underlined the second.
To date, the two victims are awaiting a summons from the prefecture in order to obtain their papers – which will allow them to work.
The steps should go fairly quickly, we emphasize on the defense side. Stating that rights may then arise. Especially for Julia who, unlike Yasmina, could not be taken care of. “She remained in the street, wandering. It is extremely serious”, slips the defense. Pointing to the risks of sexual assault or rape, or even a return to prostitution.
The lawyer describes more broadly an obstacle course so that Yasmina and Julia obtain the protection to which they are nevertheless entitled. The content of his argument? “It was a question of asserting their status as victims of criminal networks. To say that they have suffered extremely serious abuse – polytrauma, repeated rapes – and that they must benefit from protection. If they are not safe, they cannot report networks. However, it is important to prosecute those responsible, who often operate in ramifications. Between Nigeria, Italy, France… In Nice, the problem is even more serious because of the proximity to Italy.”
A first battle has been won, but the fight continues. Next step, led by another lawyer: appeals against the decision of the National Court of Asylum (CNDA), which had refused them said right. On the grounds that the account of one was “little detailed”and that the other did not provide proof of his “distancing” from the network.
“The right of asylum is granted as soon as we manage to demonstrate that they are extracted from it. There is a desire to restrict protection for fear of being exploited. But even when we provide proof of taking burden, it is not enough”resumes the defense.
Anxious to change current case law with regard to the dysfunctions and difficulties in access to law raised by the cases of Yasmina and Julia.
And to continue efforts to help them. “It’s worth fighting for. We must continue to support them socially, legally and economically. We have already obtained a great collective and legal victory.”
She navigates between the not too bad and the bad
The two women are not alone in their obstacle course. Apart from lawyers, several associations support them as well as possible. Among them, the Nid movement. Yasmina is hosted by 115, it is explained within the association acting in support of prostitutes. “It’s tangent. The hotel room is intended for her and her children, but not for her husband. As he has come to visit them, she may have to leave the premises…”
On the good news side, Yasmina is to be granted a “private and family life” residence permit for one year – thanks to the first victory obtained in court. She is registered with Pôle emploi, and should take French lessons. One of his daughters goes to school not far from the hotel.
“Psychologically, she navigates between the not too bad and the bad. There is a lot of stress, the things she has experienced are difficult to tell. But the cards are in the hands of the prefecture and the Ofpra (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons). And behind, we don’t know what to say to them. There is on one side their temporality, on the other that of the administration…”
Julia was in a situation similar in all respects to that of Yasmina. But for her, no assigned accommodation. Even though she was pregnant at the time of the request. “She has not had the same treatment but she is in good hands”we reassure.
The member of the Nid knows that the process with the Council of State – to obtain the right of asylum – will be long for the two women. And the outcome cannot be predicted. Especially in view of the contradictions noted in recent months. “To motivate the OQTFs, the representative of the prefecture said that their complaint had been dismissed. Except that it is false. When I went to court with one of them, I was told that the complaint was still in progress. A week later, the same with the second: I am assured that the complaint is registered but that the investigation has not started”, we expose. Saddened by the image that such decisions give of France. “They come from a country where there is no justice. They thought they were now in a country of law. But after that, they will think about filing a complaint given the danger that this gesture represents for them…”
The two Nigerian refugees victims of human trafficking in Italy and hosted in Breil will not be deported in the end