A 28-year-old woman, Ifeoma Daniel, has been arrested by the police in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for allegedly turning six girls to sex slaves.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Daniel, who hails from Ahiazu Mbaise, Imo State, and a suspected accomplice, Collins Madueke, 28, were arrested in the Apo area by the Special Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police.
Our correspondent gathered that the six victims, whose ages ranged from 19 to 22, were found locked up in a room before the police rescued and handed them over to officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters.
Our correspondent learnt that the girls were rescued on Friday, June 17, 2016.
The victims – Chidinma Amakwe, Blessing John, Nancy Azubuike, Chiamaka Eze, Amarachi Chinedu and Beauty Ndulue – reportedly told the police that they were lured by the suspects to Abuja to become commercial sex workers.
They said they were promised N200,000 after six months.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Daniel, a mother of two, said she brought two of the girls from their villages.
She said, “I have two children, Akunnaya and Charity. I divorced my husband three years ago because he always beat me. I went into commercial sex work as a means of survival. I started the work in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I was told commercial sex was more lucrative in Abuja, so I relocated here in 2015.
“I operated in the Apo area. I thought I could make more money by recruiting some girls to work for me. I brought the girls and the agreement was that I would pay them N100, 000 after six months. I also promised to take care of their feeding.
“I brought only two of the girls – Chinedu and John. The other girls were brought by two women known as Mama Cynthia and Azonto.”
Madueke, who hails from Nsukka, Enugu State, denied working with Daniel to recruit the victims for commercial sex work.
He said, “I worked as a hairdresser. In the first week of June, I was in my shop when Chinedu (one of the girls) approached me saying she wanted to learn hairdressing.
The following day, she came back with four other girls and they all said they wanted to learn as well. I know them as apprentices.”
One of the victims, Azubuike, 20, said she slept with no fewer than 15 men in a day, adding that Daniel made N20,000 from her daily.
She said, “I hail from Mbaise, Imo State. I dropped out of secondary school. My parents were aware that I wanted to go to Abuja to learn a vocation. My friend told me it would be commercial sex work. What I did not understand was that we would be locked up in a room.
“I slept with no fewer than 15 men in a day because they loved my services and always asked for more. I normally made between N15,000 and N20,000 every day, but the money went to madam (Daniel). I was asked to stay with her because there was no accommodation. The police stormed the place where we were locked up and rescued us.”
Another victim, John, 19, who hails from Aba, Abia State, said, “It was one Aunty Joy who brought me to Abuja and handed me over to Madam Azonto. Madam Azonto promised to give me N200,000 after six months if I agreed to be a commercial sex worker.
“She kept me in a room with the other girls and brought our food to the same room.
Every evening, we were taken out to different joints where we slept with several men. I normally collected N1,000 per round from customers.”
Our correspondent learnt that a man, who stayed in the neighbourhood where the girls were locked up, gave the police a tip-off.
A police source said, “The girls were kept in the room and someone usually brought food for them through the window. When we got there, we forced the door open and we discovered that there were six girls.”
Our correspondent gathered that the police were making efforts to arrest the fleeing members of the syndicate.
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, had yet to reply to a text message sent to her phone on the arrest.