Nigerians Scammed in Russian Football Gig

At around the time of the 2018 World Cup, several Nigerian men travelled to Russia on a promise. Agents in the African country had led them to believe that they would enjoy professional footballing careers in Russia, and they arrived with “fan-ID”, which provided visa-free entry. Almost a year later, some remain stranded in Russia having witnessed the ugliest side of the football business. They had been scammed. As they remained undocumented, the men suffered enormously. Alternativa, an NGO which fights forced labour and human trafficking in Russia is a reliable resource for foreigners in difficult situations in the country, and has been helping Africans stuck in Russia. Several Nigerian women, who were also lured during the World Cup by “agents” back home promising work, were soon forced into prostitution, often by fellow Nigerians in Moscow. Alternativa says it has helped some 40 scammed African footballers so far, but there are more and not only from Nigeria.


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