- Some persons involved in commercial sex work in Calabar were arrested by DSS
- Security operatives said the raid was carried out following an intelligence report
- Some of the girls involved in the act said they were lured into it
Fifty-nine commercial sex workers have been arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) in Calabar, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Mr Ilupeju Adebayo, Director of the DSS Command in Cross River, who disclosed this to newsmen on Saturday in Calabar, said those arrested were picked up around 2:15 a.m on Saturday.
Those arrested, made up of 43 girls and 16 men, were picked up at the Peace Garden Hotel and Papsi Place, located along the Murtala Mohammed highway in Calabar.
Adebayo revealed that there was a cartel responsible for luring the girls and making them to swear to an oath of secrecy.
The oath involves a promise not to abscond no matter what or divulge information about the business.
“We got an intelligence report and swung into action. We have been on the matter for months. We discovered that the girls are mostly underage, mostly between the ages of 13, 15, and 19 years of age.
“We also know that they were brought in by a cartel, deeply involved in the business of trafficking and using the girls as commercial sex workers.
“The girls then bring returns to them at the beginning or close of the week, depending on their modus operandi.
“We have made some arrests including that of the owner of Papsi Place, a brothel that houses mostly underage girls who pay him N2,000 on week days and N4,000 at weekends as lodging fees.
“They operate from the hotel, to clubs were we arrested them stark naked.
“We have contacted the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), while investigations are ongoing until all those involved in the illicit trade are arrested and charged to court,’’ he said.
While speaking to journalists, Adaeze Abam, one of the 43 girls, said she was brought to Calabar from Rivers under the guise of being given a sales girl job.
Abam however said she ended up becoming a commercial sex worker.
“I was brought to Calabar through a friend who told me that I will be given a job as a sales girl. She took me to a lady who I only know her name as Aunty Favour.
“They took me to a brothel at Atamu Street, Calabar South, from where I used to attend night clubs.
“I ran away and then they traced me and brought me back. They wanted to force me to take an oath but I objected and absconded again to meet my friend whom I came with to Calabar then.
“Aunty Favour came there with the boyfriend and some cult boys and beat me up, and told me that if I run again they will kill me or I will die.
“So, I usually go to her house to make returns to her every week. But I am not happy with the kind of work I am doing.
“It was never my intention to do this, because my friend did not tell me that it was this kind of job,’’ she lamented.
Mr Edem John, one of the 16 men in custody and owner of Papsi Place, denied any wrong doing.
He claimed that he had been warning the underage girls not to come to his place for commercial sex.
John however added that because of the trying times, he had no choice but to be involved in the business.
“I have been doing this business for about two years. They pay me N2,000 for the accommodation where they have sex with men.
“Although I have been warning the underage ones to stay away from my place, but they still come back, and I need to do my business because I have a family to feed,’’ he said.
Legit.ng had reported that Nigerians took to the street to protest alleged police violation of the rights of women particularly in Abuja.
The protest which is expected to take place in Lagos, Abuja and Accra in Ghana on Saturday, May 5 was spurred by police raid on women whom they described as prostitutes at the Caramelo Night Club in Abuja
In reaction, concerned Nigerians converged at Old Parade ground from where they marched with placards bearing different inscriptions like: “To Be a Woman is Not a Crime”, “Stop the Gender-Based Violence”, “We Have a Right to be Heard”, “My Dressing is my Choice”, etc.
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