Eyo, an illiterate 10-year-old girl is trafficked to the UK with promises of a better life. The novel follows her five year journey as a domestic servant and eventual sex slave in the UK, her attempts to escape and her journey around the UK as she’s passed from one human trafficker to another. Eventually, she is rescued only to realise that in even in freedom, society demands an exacting price from those it should protect.
The African ‘way’
Much has been made of the African approach to fostering. It is a relationship of trust between two parents; one, usually the poorer, entrusting the care of their children to the richer relatives who are supposed to provide for them and ensure they have a better life.
It is a good system – when it works, and Eyo is a modern-day story of what happens when it doesn’t. Yes, it is true that Eyo is a work of fiction, but it is rooted in personal experience gleaned from my childhood in Nigeria, from my professional experience as a human rights worker working in Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and of course, from talking to practitioners campaigning against child trafficking.
I can honestly say that Eyo’s experiences were, 90% of the time, based on real-life stories of people I’d either met or had come across in my research.
And like I said, I was born in Nigeria; its economy is built on the blood of lost childhoods (Nigerian children consistently top the list of trafficked people from Africa into Europe).
I wrote Eyo because I wanted to write a book about the pandemic trade in African children.
Eyo, the reviews
Eyo on Kindle. Average Amazon rating: 5 stars.
‘…outstanding commentary on the conditions that make life in home countries unbearable, the casual cruelties meted out on strangers as they travel, and the indifference that sustains it all’ – Judging panel on Eyo, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010
Eyo may have lost to South Africa’s Trespass (Dawn Garisch) for Africa’s Best Book in this year’s Commonwealth Writer’s Prize but it is still up there among the continent’s finest works of realistic fiction – Daily Monitor
This is an attitude changing novel – New Vision
Ms Sanusi is one of a new crop of Nigerian writers…[making] a mark in the literature world – Business Daily
What this literature most highlights is the fragility of life for a majority of people in Africa, especially when faced with grinding poverty and abandonment from the state and society – Africareview.com