Four schoolgirls allegedly turned into sex workers by a suspected human trafficker, Abigail Nweke Alo, in a Calabar brothel have shared their heartbreaking ordeal. The teenage girls from Benue State identified as Felicia Nzuworgar, Patience Williams, Angela Benjamin and Charity Nkwogor, who claimed they were hypnotized, revealed Abigail, alias ‘Chairlady’, had taken them from Benue in January with the promise to bring them to Lagos to work as sales girls at her bar.
One of the girls, Felicia, 17, told Vanguard, “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.”
18 year old Patience, said to be in SS2, also revealed 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 was interested.
She said, “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.”
Angela, on her part, said she was on her way from school when Abigail met her and told her she wanted to take her to school in Lagos, adding that she would in turn assist her at her bar. She subsequently followed her into the bus where other girls were waiting.
Angela reportedly added that on their way from Benue to ‘Lagos’, they stopped in Enugu where they spent the night in the house of a man who had seven wives. The man allegedly gave 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.
We got to Calabar in the night and when I asked ‘Chairlady’ if this was Lagos, she said yes.
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.
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. You can see marks on our bodies because of the beating we got.”
Patience added, “It was very painful when we started. Every day 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.”
Angela continued, “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.”
Abigail, who was nabbed by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of Cross River State Police Command, denied she brought the girls to Calabar. She has however been charged to court for alleged kidnapping and engaging in prostitution.
Photo credit: Vanguard