The Nigeria Navy says 50 girls allegedly forced into prostitution in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, have been rescued from two brothels in the state.
This was confirmed by the base information officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Richard Iginla who paraded the suspects on Sunday.
Iginla also said the operation was carried out in collaboration with the Nigeria Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“We got the intelligence from NAPTIP, who had been tracking the brothels that camped juveniles with some of them as young as 14 years of age. So, after NAPTIP shared intelligence with us, a joint team was set up and we immediately went into action to rescue the victims,” he said.
“No fewer than 50 young girls forced into prostitution were rescued, while three recruiters and operators of the brothels were arrested.”
The base information officer, identified the brothels as Royal Brothel and Cool Breeze Brothel, both located on Azikiwe road in Diobu area of Port Harcourt, which has been shut down.
Iginla added that efforts are ongoing to effect the arrest of the leaders of the sex-trafficking ring, who recruits children from villages.
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“Children are gifts from God, and we must do everything humanly possible to protect them from all forms of abuse and exploitation,” he said.
“The Nigeria Navy will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies to bring to justice criminal elements that traffic persons either on land or through the waterways.
“On conclusion of our investigation, the suspects and victims will be handed over to NAPTIP for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“Speaking on the development, Nwa-Amaka Ikediashi, head of NAPTIP in Rivers, said the agency would rehabilitate the victims and reintegrate them into the society.
“NAPTIP, as the focal agency mandated to fight all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, will conduct proper investigation, to ensure justice is served,” she said.
As at the time of the report, three suspected sex traffickers were also arrested during the raid on the brothels in Port Harcourt.
One of the girls rescued, who narrated her experience, said she was brought from her village.
“One of my village women brought me and two other girls from our village with the impression that we are coming to serve in a hotel,” the girl said.
“Shortly after we arrived at the hotel, she went outside and collected money from one woman (brothel operator). That was the last time I saw her.
“Later, the woman, simply known as madam, put us in a room and told us that we would work as prostitutes.
“In a day, I sleep with more than 10 men, and whatever money I make, I give it to my madam. We hustle by wearing pants to seduce the men. After admiring what they see, they take us into the room, have sex with us and give us money.
“We do a daily account of any money we collect to our madam’s sister, who calculates and gives us our cut.”
Source: The Cable
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