The Operatives of Rapid Response Squad of Lagos State Police Command have arrested a suspected human trafficker while trying to transport two teenage girls through Lagos to Abidjan in Ivory Coast for commercial sex work.
The suspect, Martha Edea, 30, a mother of two from Ogoja in Cross River State, was nabbed in Lagos after travelling with the young girls from Benin, Edo State.
Martha confessed to the police that she was trafficked to Ivory Coast by one Mariam who told her there were chances of securing a good job in the country but was later introduced to sex work where she slaved for months in paying back her custodian who brought her to Abidjan.
Martha said “I worked for three months to pay Mariam about 300,000 Cefa (N180,000) to balance her for my transportation into Ivory Coast and also for connecting me”.
She added that Mariam after collecting the money travelled to Spain abandoning her as a sex worker.
The mother of two who left her children in the village with her mother couldn’t find a headway in the business after her connector had travelled to Spain.
She further explained that she yielded to her friend’s advise to come back to Nigeria to recruit young girls for the business.
Martha however, came back to Nigeria and headed for Edo State where she was told that she will find young girls willing to travel out of the country to hustle as strumpets.
The 30-year-old met some locals in the area. She came in contact with two young ladies named Favour and Deborah who introduced her to the young girls.
“Favour took me to one Francess Bamidele who she said is her friend and will like to be taken out of the country for prostitution. Francess also agreed to follow the unknown middle aged woman after making some juicy promises and testimonies about the foreign country”.
Francess, a 19-year-old secondary school dropout, while talking to the Police said she was elated to hear from Martha that prostitution is very lucrative in Abidjan so she opted in for it and decided to travel with her without telling her guardian.
Similarly, Martha also contacted Deborah who lives in the neighborhood to help get another girl who is interested in travelling out of Nigeria in search for better work. Deborah took her to one Elo Etim, an 18-year-old who assured her Martha is her friend and it is okay to embark on such journey.
Martha in her statement said, ‘I paid both Favour and Deborah a sum of N10,000 each for helping me get a girl each for the journey.
“I also met with Elo’s mother, i told her what her daughter was about to embark on in Abidjan and she agreed to it, she also prayed for her and wished her good luck”. She explained
Elo confirmed that her mother was elated about the journey that she gave her some money and phone number to call when she got to Ivory coast.
The trafficker embarked on the journey from Benin, Edo State to Lagos from where they were supposed to connect the Nigerian land border to cross to the Republic of Benin but things began to take a twist when Francess out of her curiosity began to question Martha about her welfare and coming back from Abidjan for Christmas.
She said, “I asked Aunty Martha how much we will have to pay her for the trip and she disclosed I and Elo will work for her till we are able to pay a sum of 300,000 Cefa (N180,000) to gain our freedom in Abidjan. Then I told her I wanted to go back home from where we were and this led to an argument which attracted other passengers on the bus.
“The argument made the other passengers in the bus become suspicious and called the attention of the Police when we got to Berger Bus Stop in Lagos. We were all arrested and taken to RRS Headquaters in Alausa, Ikeja.”
Commenting on the development, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous Cole stated that the suspect and her two young girls have been transferred to SCID, Panti for further investigation.