Young Nigerian boys hoping to become professional footballers are having their dreams crushed once they reach the UK. Instead of joining a football academy and playing in the English Premier League, many Nigerian boys are being trafficked into slavery, according to new reports
The claims were raised by John Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja. The archbishop was speaking at an anti-trafficking conference in London, hosted by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England Wales.
"What struck me was the extent and the type of enticement and abuse of people that goes on in Africa, according to Onaiyekan's reports. For example, there are schools of football excellence, which promise youngsters a career in the Premier League and as soon as they get to England they are enslaved.
Onaiyekan suggested that the lure of a lucrative career as a professional footballer was just one of a number of ways, young Nigerians were being trafficked into slavery. He said: "There would seem to be almost no enticement that isn't used."
Kevin Hyland, the new British anti-slavery commissioner, has said that he will be travelling to Nigeria in order to investigate these shocking claims.
"But Onaiyekan knows where it's happening and that's one of the things I'll be looking at when I go to Nigeria."
He insisted that he had heard of such cases happening elsewhere in Europe but never in the UK. A new educational programme about slavery and trafficking has been proposed by Hyland. A charity scheme called Just Enough, will give anti-slavery courses to young children in schools across the country to raise awareness of the issue.
The charity's founder, Phil Knight has spoken positively about the impact of the educational plan. He has said he hopes that 100,000 children will be involved in the educational programme next year.