As a part of a campaign to recognise the women in Belgium, the city of Brussels has declared that it will have a street named after Eunice Osayande, a Nigerian sex worker who was murdered by one of her customers in 2018. Eunice Osayande came to Brussels in 2016, searching for a brighter future in the film industry, only to get trapped in the hands of human traffickers who forced her in to prostitution.
The smuggling gang demanded huge amounts of money from Ms Osayande in the name of transit fee and other rents. Weeks before her death, Ms Osayande had contacted a charity for sex workers to tell them about the violence and intimidation she was experiencing while working. Since she was an illegal migrant, she feared she could not go to the police.
At the age of 23, Ms Osayande was brutally stabbed to death in June 2018, by one of her customers. Even though prostitution is legal in Belgium, there are no unified rules for the protection of the sex workers. The death of Ms. Osayande led to a number of protests by the migrant sex worker communities in Brussels. The protests were organised and led by the director of the UTSOPI sex workers union, Maxime Maes. The demands of the protestors included better working conditions and a clear guideline for the sector by the local authorities.
Four members of the sex trafficking circle were arrested this year in January and a 17-year-old man is waiting trail for Ms Osayande’s murder. Maxime Maes told the media that the crimes against marginalised women are increasing day by day in the area and Ms Osayande’s death has caused extreme distress for the undocumented migrants in the area.
The city council has named several streets in Brussels after remarkable women like Yvonne Nèvejean and Andrée De Jongh and a bridge after a Belgian LGBT activist, Suzan Daniel. This would be the first time to name a street after a sex worker in the country.