Five suspected members of a human trafficking ring, paraded by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, have confessed to taking two Nigerian girls to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, to become commercial sex workers.
They also admitted that they recorded the girls’ nude videos while they were taking oaths.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspects ─ Blessing Gabriel, 25; Precious Ejiro-Owoh, 29; Rose Gabriel, 25; Priscilla Bassey, 33; and 38-year-old Terry Smooth ─ were apprehended by the agency on September 8, 2015, while one of their victims, identified only as Ann, had been rescued.
Our correspondent gathered that while Ann was being rehabilitated at the NAPTIP office, the suspects were assisting the officials with information to arrest the fleeing members of the syndicate.
It was learnt that two of the victims of the syndicate, Ann and Chisom, had fled from Dubai in August, making the gang to put their nude visuals on the social media.
The visuals, which showed the girls swearing to oaths of allegiance, were said to have been sent to the agency.
Our correspondent gathered that the Lagos Zonal Command officials of NAPTIP on Tuesday, September 8, arrested Dubai-based Blessing, who confessed to have trafficked Ann.
It was learnt that the lady, who reportedly sneaked into the country for a traditional marriage, was arrested at the Agboroko village, Iba area of Lagos.
It was also learnt that the officials arrested other gang members in the Lekki Phase 1 and Ajah areas.
Blessing, who claimed that she worked with a travel agency in Dubai, told PUNCH Metro that she sent N35,000 to bring Ann from Nigeria as a commercial sex worker in Dubai.
The suspect claimed that the arrangement was with the consent of the victim.
She said, “I did not know the victim from anywhere. Gina, who has not yet been arrested, is my friend in Dubai. She was the one who told me that she needed a girl from Nigeria to do “runs”. I then told Precious, my Nigerian friend, to get me someone.
“Gina sent N35,000 to prepare the girl that would be brought. That was in July. So, it happened that the girl, Ann, was brought to Dubai. I personally went to pick her from the airport.
“When she came to Gina, the girl was taken inside a room, stripped and asked to say an oath. I was not there; I was not the person that stripped her. She did the job for about a month before she fled from Dubai.
“I knew they were bringing her for commercial sex; and she was also aware. She told Precious that she was ready to travel out of the country and do any kind of work.”
Precious, who confessed to luring the girl to travel to Dubai, pleaded that it was her first time to deal in trafficking of persons.
The NAPTIP Lagos director, Joseph Famakin, said the nude video was released on the Youtube, after Ann escaped from the ring, adding that the syndicate also forced the girls to swear to oaths.
He said, “The victim was recruited from Lagos for Blessing, who was in Dubai. Blessing was responsible for her travel expenses. The process of preparing her for Dubai was coordinated by Blessing’s sister, Rose Gabriel.
“On arrival in Dubai, the oath was forcefully administered on her, and it was recorded on video. This recording was later released on Youtube after she escaped from her exploiters in Dubai. She was forced into prostitution contrary to the initial promise of being given a job at a hair dressing saloon.”
Our correspondent learnt that other members of the trafficking ring in Dubai ─ Gina, Fegor Ebony Ejeba, and Nicole Esther Otubu ─ were still at large, and efforts were on to track them down.
The assistant Director, Press and Public Relations, NAPTIP, Josiah Emerole, said the suspects would be charged to court, adding that efforts were on to rescue the other victims of the syndicate.
He said, “We call on all Nigerians to join hands with the agency to nip in the bud human trafficking in the country.”