Given the size of the Nigerian population in several European countries, it is a strikingly under-researched minority.
The fact that these evils have persisted after return to democratic rule in 1999 has been a great disillusionment to many Nigerians, thousands of whom have sought asylum in Europe.
In 2004, Nigerians were the fifth largest group of asylum seekers in Europe, but very few were granted protection.
Trafficking in women from Nigeria is strongly concentrated in the state of Edo in the South-Central part of the country.
A survey by Women's Health and Action Research Centre in Edo's capital Benin City a few years ago showed that one in three young women had received offers to go to Europe.
Coupled with the prospect of large revenues on the Italian prostitution market, this provided an opportunity for traffickers.
Young women were enticed with promises of good jobs, and subsequently coerced into prostitution in order to repay their debt.
Italy is the only European country where a clear majority of legally resident Nigerians are women.
When Nigerians began migrating to Italy in the 1980s, they were one of many migrant groups from developing countries attracted by Italy's demand for low-skilled labor in agriculture and services.
This contrasts with "human smuggling," in which a migrant purchases services to circumvent immigration restrictions, but is not necessarily a victim of deception or exploitation.
In West Africa, there is widespread trafficking in women and children within the region as well as to overseas locations.
The largest group of prostitutes from Sub-Saharan Africa comes from Nigeria, and they are usually recruited through a specific type of trafficking network.