Tuesday, April 28, 2015

15 Year Old Forced Into Prostitution To Pay Her Kidnappers Before She Was Released

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Precious Nwaigwe, the 15-year-old schoolgirl, who disappeared on her way back to school about a year ago, has said she was trafficked to Libya and forced into prostitution to pay the Libyan pimp who bought her from the kidnappers. She lamented that after paying the money, she was again used as collateral for a 500 Libyan dinars (N50,000) loan by the kidnapper's liaison in Libya before she was finally able to return home.

She added that her abductors conducted pregnancy tests on her three different times, which were negative, and that she saw more than 1,000 Nigerian girls, who were also forced to work for the money paid by the pimps to the human traffickers.

The schoolgirl, who was released on Friday, said she would never forgive her cousin, who had masterminded her trafficking to Libya, for betraying her trust. She said she was actually abducted in Ode Remo, Ogun State after she stumbled on some cultists en route to her school in Ikenne.

“When I left Sangotedo Park in Ajah for school, I was the only one in the vehicle, so the driver dropped me off at Ibeju Lekki.“I got another vehicle from there, which took me to Ode Remo around 9pm. I could not find a cab that would take me to Ikenne where my school is. I did not know they were having a festival that day and people had been asked to stay indoors.

“I trekked for about two hours until I stumbled on some people who were talking. I discovered they were cultists and they accused me of eavesdropping. They added that I knew their secrets. The ladies among them descended on me. After the ladies were done beating me, they asked the men in the group to take turns to rape me.”

She said the man, who she later identified as Seun, took her to Ojota in Lagos.She said Seun took care of her for two weeks, while she recuperated from her injuries.

“One day, he said he wanted to help me to get eyedrop because my eyes were swollen. I begged him to allow me to follow him, at least to see the sun. He obliged me and while we were going, my slippers cut and I went back into the house to pick another one. I was on my way when I saw Kelvin (Okito) my maternal cousin.”

She narrated her ordeal to Okito, thinking that he would rescue her. Okito, however, took her to the Alaba area of Lagos and connived with his friend, John, to sell the 15-year-old to John’s elder brother, identified as Nzube Chukwu. Chukwu was said to be based in Libya.

She explained that Okito deceived her that he had discussed with her mother to take her to Libya where she would continue her education. She said,

“He said he had called my mum and told her he was taking me on a journey to Libya. I pleaded with him to allow me talk to her, but he said my mum was happy that I was going to Libya, where I would continue my education.”

She said together with some other migrants, they spent four days on the road before reaching Agadez in the Niger Republic. She said at that point, her co-travellers told her that it was a journey of life and death.

"We spent four days on our journey to Agadez in the Niger Republic. The other people with me said it was a journey of life and death. I managed to get a phone, called my mum and asked her for money so I could return to Nigeria. They discovered the phone that I used to call my mum and they seized it. I was made to stay indoors in Agadez for three weeks.”

She said they later started the journey to Libya and spent seven days in the desert, adding that some people died on the way.

“We got to Bra in Libya seven days after. I met the wife of the man (Chukwu) and she asked me if I had been told what I was there for. I said, ‘Yes, to continue my school.’

“I was taken to a place where there were so many girls wearing only pants and bras. I told them to wear their clothes. But they laughed at me and said, ‘this one is a JJC (naive)’."

Precious said the woman told her she had bought her and she must work to pay back the money. The woman told her she would pay $6,000, including transport, accommodation and feeding costs.She said when she did not cooperate, she was beaten up.

“Every night they would torture me with cigarette stubs. They locked me up in a room and beat me up.”

Precious said she had pleaded with a man that had indicated interest to sleep with her on a night, to allow her make a call with his phone. She said she called Okito and told him she was suffering, begging him to talk to the woman to allow her go.

Okito was said to have assured the 15-year-old that he would do something. She said,

“But I paid the money back on my own. The man (Chukwu), who sold me to the woman, then came back and started making trouble again.”

Chukwu later used the victim to borrow 500 dinars (about N50,000). She said she was relocated to another part of the town, Baladia.

Precious said she was accused of sleeping with Chukwu and was subjected to three pregnancy tests, which were negative. While working to raise the 500 dinars, she said she met a Nigerian named Soni (Sunday).The two were said to have become friends.

In the course of investigations, policemen at the SCID and SARS, arrested John and Okito in Lagos. John’s brother, Chukwu, was said to have threatened Precious that she would not be allowed to return to Nigeria until the police in Nigeria released John.

However, Soni helped the victim to pay the money and insisted that the victim was no longer in captivity and Chukwu could not decide her fate. Soni, who worked as a tiles contractor in Libya, arranged Precious’ transport to Lagos.

Precious said that while preparing to return home, the pimp in Libya urged her to recruit girls from Lagos.

“She told me that now that I have seen how she worked and made her money, she would want me to join the business. There were more than 1,000 Nigerian girls who had been recruited to work in Libya. I was lucky to have survived and returned home safely.”

She said when she arrived in Lagos, she contacted a relative in the Okota area of the state, who took her to her parents.

“I can never forgive my cousin who did this to me. I trusted him and he decided to sell me for money.”

Such a sad story, hopefully she gets help to be able to work through this.

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