• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Two Nigerian girls escape human trafficking den in Ghana, 30 others in captivity

IOM sensitises over 18,000 persons on ills of human trafficking through film

Barely a week after 11 Nigerian girls were illegally transported to Ghana, two others have been rescued from organised human trafficking in the country, following an escape attempt that alerted authorities.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) confirmed this on Tuesday, revealing that the two girls whose rescue operation was facilitated by Chief Calistus, chairman the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) Ghana are now in a safe custody…

The girls, both previously residing in Lagos, were lured to Ghana under the guise of a false employment opportunity– a common bait by traffickers, and upon arrival, were forced into prostitution.

“I was home one afternoon when a friend of mine came to me that there are opportunities in Ghana,” narrated one of the girls who chose to remain anonymous.

“Based on the way everything is in Nigeria, I want to make money because we have family to feed so we decided to come because they told us we were going to work in the supermarket. On getting here, we saw that it was prostitution.”

The girl in particular, daughter to a pastor in Nigeria, resisted, stating it was against her faith and the integrity of their family.

This provoked the culprits who employed fetish means to compel them.

“We said we would actually leave before things got worse but they had to cut our hair and did naked video of us, saying if we try to run, they will make us mad or they will post our naked video on the internet.

“They will make us dress half naked. We eat from 6 in the evening to 6 the next day,” she said, tearing up.

When asked about crossing into Ghana, the girls confirmed that they did not have a passport but were not interrogated by the Ghana police or immigration service.

“I think they have connection, I can’t explain. I just know we landed here.

“When we got to Mile 12, they crossed us through the water. After we crossed the water, they have people that they call that will take us to one bus stop”

They identified the conveyer as “Oga Sunny” who handed them over to a certain “Miss Mary” and “Nicki” upon arriving Ghana.

“When we got to the house the first day we got there, we didn’t go to the room. She even made us swear by the bible,” the girl said.

According to her, she would have escaped earlier but for the occultic threats. Eventually, after weeks of observing the church closeby, she found the courage.

“What happened was that during the service at the redeemed christian church of God (RCCG) yesterday, she ran to the church and while she was there, she narrated her ordeal of how she was brought to ghana about two months ago by one lady who lives in Nigeria now,” recalled Calistus.

“When they brought them here, she told them that she has a supermarket where they will bring her to work, while they pay her salary without knowing that they brought them here for prostitution.”

In Ghana, where the minimum wage has risen to GHC18.15 daily and GHC562.65 (N59,018) per month, the majority of commercial sales representatives– the job commonly offered to trafficking victims, earn as low as GHC20, which could rise to GHC31 daily after 5 years of work experience, according to Africapay.org/Ghana, which monitors wages in Ghana alongside the International Wage Network.

In the country, this salary can be considered lower than sustainable, but the its 3.60 percent unemployment rate still looks more attractive to Nigeria’s 5 percent, where the minimum wage of N30,000 has caused recent national disputes.

“They told her that if she wants to go back, she has to pay them N1.5 million,” said Calistus.

“She told them that she doesn’t have that money and she asked for them to give her opportunity to call the parents. They refused, they seized their phone and seized their communication, locked them up and made them to swear oath that they cannot they should not run away and if they run away, they will run mad. They naked them and took pictures of their nakedness and threatened to put it on internet in case they try to run away,” he said.

Before her escape, the traffickers had put them on the streets where they worked for alomst 2 months, most times without food.

When asked how she finally found the courage, she said, “Because I believe there’s nothing God cannot do.”

Because of his closeness to the church, Calistus was immediately alerted of the situation, which he quickly took action on.

“When I got to the apartment the intent was to get the culprit, the principal person but unfortunately, she wasn’t there, so we discovered the other lady [victim] by my right who was also crying there. She even confirmed that since morning she has not eaten. If you don’t go for prostitution, they starve you, they beat you and do whatever to subject you and make sure you go into that slavery.”

The girls confirmed that they are over 30 people in captivity in the apartment they were held hostage in. Calistus assured that the girls will help police investigation to apprehend the culprits.

He called on Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman NIDCOM to liaise with the Lagos state government and “reinstate the life of these children and make them what God wants them to be.”

“We have made ourselves available to join the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make sure the lives of our children are not wasted in West Coast. That is an assignment Nigerians in Ghana we have chose to do and we will fight that battle until we get the victory.”

Dabiri-Erewa, in an official statement, assured that arrangements will be made to get them back to Nigeria and handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).