Love, 22, and her 23-year-old sister, Happiness, were lured into prostitution sometime in January by their eldest sister, Mary. Mary also tricked a cousin, Joy Lawrence, 25, promising the three ladies that she could give them jobs that would help them make a decent living.
However, by the time they discovered that they had been trafficked, the victims said they had become trapped. PUNCH Metro learnt that Lawrence and another victim fled the hotel on Monday when they could no longer bear the pain they were subjected to.
Lawrence was reported to have been brought to the Lagos zonal headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service, which then stormed the hotel and rescued other victims.
The agency also arrested Mary and the owner of the hotel, one Mrs. Akpojaro Rose, an indigene of Warri, Delta State. It was learnt that the ladies collected between N500 and N700 per s*x, paid N200 per day for hotel rates, and made about N340,000 in savings within the period.
Narrating her ordeal, Love told a correspondent she did not have any formal education because their father died when they were toddlers.
She explained that her sister lured her into prostitution, saying she slept with an average of four men a day.
She said, “I was learning tailoring in the village. My sister told me she could help me get a job in Lagos; she didn’t tell me that it was prostitution I was coming to do. After we got to Lagos, she said we should do this (prostitution) job so we can make money to be able to finish my craft as a tailor. I sleep with about four men in a day and each of them pay me at least N500.”
Her elder sister, Happiness, also said she was not aware she had been trafficked until she arrived in Lagos and was introduced to prostitution.
“I didn’t go to school and I have not learnt any trade. I came to Lagos a few months ago. My sister didn’t tell me this was what I was coming to do in Lagos. She said it was a good job,” she said.
Lawrence, who fled the hotel on Monday, said she was told she would be trading when she left their hometown in Ogoja, Cross River State.
“I ran away because I didn’t like the work. I don’t want to do it again. I never knew this was the job,” the victim said.
But Mary said she did not want to bring her relatives into the trade, adding that she gave in to pressure when they kept asking her to take them to Lagos.
She said, “I came to Lagos with a friend in 2014 and my friend introduced me to this job. We were first using a hotel called Happiness Hotel before we moved to Morning Star Hotel in Sango Ota.
“When I travelled to the village, my sisters started disturbing me that they wanted to follow me to Lagos to go and work.
“When they continued to disturb me, I decided to take them with me; but I didn’t tell them I was into prostitution. I told my mother I was working in a beer parlour.
“Each of us makes N2,500 to N3,000 daily. We sleep with an average of three to four men and they pay between N500 and N700.”
The 32-year-old said from January till May 16 when they were arrested, she had saved N340,000 for the three girls.
She, however, alleged that the hotel was raided by some policemen from the Sango Ota division, whom they settled with N150,000.
The owner of the hotel, Rose, told PUNCH Metro that she gave out rooms to the girls at the rate of N200 per day.
“I warned Mary that the girls were too young, but she didn’t listen to me. I have 15 rooms in my hotel and I have seven girls, who were paying me N200 every day. If I had children of their age, I will not allow them do this,” she said.
The Assistant Comptroller General of Immigration, Musa Maza, who handed over the victims to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters, said the suspects would be prosecuted at the end of investigations.
He said, “This is a human trafficking case in the form of enslavement and prostitution. The victims were forced into sex against their wish. Two of them actually escaped. The whereabouts of one is unknown, but the second victim contacted someone who brought her to the immigration office.
“Parents should be vigilant and wary of those who come for their children asking them to be released in search of greener pastures. We are handing them over to NAPTIP for prosecution. We believe this will serve as a deterrent to those that will want to engage in this useless business.”