July 10, 2016

‘For six months, ‘Chairlady’ forced us to have sex with 20 men daily’

•Say they were taken from their homes after being hypnotised

By Emmanuel Unah

Four schoolgirls have narrated  how they were recruited  into prostitution by a suspected human trafficker, Abigail Nweke Alo, in an alleged  brothel located in  Calabar business area.

Felicia Nzuworgar, 17, Patience Williams, 18, Angela Benjamin, 17 and Charity Nkwogor, all from Okun and Vandeikya Local Government Areas of Benue State, said Abigail, who they called  ‘Chairlady’,  took them from their homes, in January, under the pretense that she was taking them to Lagos where she had  a drinking spot to work as sales girls but ended up as sex workers in  Calabar.

“I was selling oranges in our market in Okun when she tapped me on the shoulder and I turned thinking she wanted to buy oranges but she told me she had  a business in Lagos and wanted me to follow her. I did not know what came over me. I just followed her without even telling my parents and friends where I was going”, Felicia  told Sunday Vanguard.

Benue-prostPatience, a  senior secondary school 2 Student in Vandiekya, on her part, narrated that she was plating a friend’s hair in front of her grandmother’s house where she lived when Mike, a commercial motorcycle rider, who lived  in  her neighbourhood, came to inform her that a lady was looking for someone to work in a beer parlour in Lagos, and wanted to know  if she would like to go with her.

“I told Mike that I was still in school and could  not go with the lady and  that she should look for someone else. But instead of looking  for somebody else, Mike went and brought the lady and when she looked into my eyes, I simply went inside and packed my clothes and followed her without waiting for my grandmother who went out to come back”, she stated.

Recounting her own experience, Angela said she was on her way from school when the lady met her and told her she wanted to take her to school  in Lagos  and also assist her (Abigail)  in her beer parlour business and she went with her into the bus where other girls were waiting.

They girls, on their way from Benue to ‘Lagos’, stopped in  Enugu where they spent the night in the house of a  man who, according to her, had seven wives. The man was said to have given them concoction to drink after which they were warned that  if they tried to run away, their private parts would rot and they would die.

“The man took us into his medicine hut and gave us the concoction to drink and, when we refused to drink, he beat us. He told us that if we went out without drinking, we will die.  After we drank, he said that if we ran away from ‘Chairlady’, our private parts would rot and we will die”, Felicia said.

According to her, after the encounter with the man, the next day, they continued their journey. “We got to Calabar in the night  and when I asked ‘Chairlady’  if this was Lagos, she said yes”.

The next day, at the alleged brothel where they were lodged, the girls said Abigail gave them boxer shorts to wear and begin to ‘hustle’ for men like  other girls in the place were doing. When they refused, ‘Chairlady’ descended on them and beat them mercilessly.

“We arrived Calabar in the night and, the next morning, she collected our phones and brought boxer shorts to us that we should wear and, when we asked her where the drinking parlour was so that we could  start work, she said we should hustle like other girls were doing by sleeping with men and, when we refused, she beat us up mercilessly”, Patience  narrated.

According to her, nobody came to their rescue as all the prostitutes in the brothel were afraid of Abigail because she  was their head. “Everybody in the hotel was afraid of her because she  was their boss and, if anyone dared  to challenge her, she will send the person out of the place”, she said.

They had to agree to begin sleeping with men    after some days as  ‘Chairlady’ allegedly went on beating them ceaselessly    and denying  them of food.

“You can see marks on our bodies because of the beating we got”, Angela said.  They recounted how  each of them slept  with an average  of  twenty men every day while Abigail  collected  the money they made, leaving them with N500.00  as feeding money.

The girls  explained that  when they started the commercial sex work, it was very painful as they were not used to sleeping with such  a  large number of men daily.

•Suspected human trafficker... Iam innocent

•Suspected human trafficker… Iam innocent

“ It was very painful when we started. Everyday  we slept with  an average of  twenty men for N500.00 each and, because we were young and new, men would  line up and wait for us till  about 12 midnight when the hotel closes and then ‘Chairlady’ will   come in and collect the money and, since    she used to count the condoms she was giving  us, if you did not   give her all the money, she will beat you mercilessly”, Patience said.

The girls   said Abigail   had male  aides who searched their   rooms and their bodies   at the   close of work each day   to ensure they had  not hidden any money and, if any money was found with them, they would be beaten up.

They said Abigail, on arrival in Calabar, having  collected their phones, did not allow any of them to step outside the alleged brothel for fear that they might run away and  that, two of them, Angela and Charity, who attempted to escape, were severely beaten by the woman and her male friends.

“ When I tried to run away, she brought a soldier   and a policeman who were her  friends who  beat me up and poured tear gas in my eyes and, because of that, I became very sick and   could not stand up for many days”, Angela recounted.

On why they followed the woman without letting their parents know even as they were still in secondary school , the girls  said once the woman touched them on the shoulder, they became hypnotised and went with her.

Abigail, who claimed to be from Ebonyi State, said her arrest by operatives from Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of Cross River State Police Command was due to jealously. She said she was not the one who brought the girls to Calabar.

Mr John Eluu, Cross River State Police Command Public Relations Officer, said the suspected human trafficker will face the law and warned young girls  to be cautious of promises of jobs in Lagos or any other town by human traffickers without proof.

‘Chairlady’ has since been charged to court for  alleged kidnapping and engaging in prostitution.