By Ayeotan Shola
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has broken up a prostitution syndicate that operates from the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
This ring was said to have been sstickpecializing in the act of trafficking Nigerian girls to Dubai to work as harlots.
The arrested prostitute ring operators include Blessing Gabriel, the ring leader who is based in Dubai, Homuere Terry Smooth, Priscilla Effiong Bassey, Precious Ejiro Owoh, and Rose Gabriel, while two of the girls were rescued.
The suspects were paraded in Lagos, on an operation that was led by one of their top officials.
The NAPTIP Head of Press and Public Relations, Josiah Emerole, said the agency was tipped off when naked videos of some girls which the syndicate had made while swearing them to an oath of allegiance, made its way to the social media and through painstaking investigations, the suspects were arrested.
Emerole added that one of the victims identified as Ann, was brought back home to re-united with her family, while the other victim, identified as Chisom, will soon be re-united with her family.
“Early August 2015, the media, especially the social media, was awash with nude visuals of two of our citizens, Ann and Chisom, filmed and uploaded by some of our unpatriotic citizens engaged in trafficking of girls from Nigeria to Dubai, the United Arab Emirate for sexual exploitation.
The nude visuals which caused some uproar within many circles in Nigeria and raised questions among our international partners, showed the two girls being forced to swear to an oath of allegiance separately while nude.
They were made to claim that they came to Dubai on their own volition to engage in prostitution and ready to obey their ‘madams’ without reporting to anybody.
The women that filmed the video threatened to upload the nude visuals if the girls did not act accordingly.
The blackmail videos are part of the Dubai syndicate’s control mechanism which also includes oath taking, and confiscation of travel documents to ensure obedience and submission.
Ann was allegedly recruited into prostitution in Dubai by Precious, a Lagos-based make-up artist.
The process of preparing Ann for the Dubai trip was coordinated by Rose, an elder sister to the UAE-based Blessing.
The suspects attempted to force the victim to a shrine for oath of secrecy. On arrival in Dubai, the oath of secrecy, which could not be administered in Nigeria, was forcefully administered on Ann and recorded.
The recording was later released on YouTube, a video-sharing website, after Ann escaped from her exploiters in Dubai, where she was forced into prostitution contrary to the initial promise of being given a job at a hairdressing saloon,” Emerole said.
Homurer Terry, is said to be the one who rented a seven-bedroom duplex house in Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos, where she harboured young girls primed for the trip, with the girls paying her N10,500 weekly as commission for fixing them up in the sex trade.
“Terry used the building where she paid N3.2 million yearly, to harbour all kinds of girls from within and outside Nigeria and charges them N10, 500 each weekly.
It was in the house that Chisom met Priscilla Bassey Effiong, who claimed to be a businesswoman. Priscilla recruited Chisom for a Dubai-based human trafficker, Ebony Fegor, who has been in the business since 2011.
The suspects would be arraigned in court soon, while efforts are being intensified at the diplomatic level to track all other members of this syndicate who are still in Dubai,” the NAPTIP spokesperson added.