BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Child prostitution and human trafficking are now on the rise in Osun State, investigation by The Point has shown.
Recent checks showed that most brothels in Osogbo, Ilesa and Ile-Ife are now engaging underage girls in commercial sex work.
The Point reliably gathered that some commercial sex workers in the state now travel to the South East and Northern part of the country to ‘buy over’ underage girls to use for prostitution in Osun, Oyo and other neighbouring states.
The modus operandi of most of the human traffickers is to lure unsuspecting parents in rural communities to release their female children to them purportedly for job opportunities in the cities, unawares to them that their children would end up in prostitution and exploitation.
Luck, however, eluded two of the actors as operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Osun State Command, reportedly arrested them recently for allegedly engaging in buying, selling and trafficking in girls for prostitution.
A suspected female prostitute, identified as Chidinma, was arrested in Osogbo, while a male suspect, simply identified as Alfa, was also apprehended in Iwo town on a similar account.
A source at the NAPTIP office informed The Point that Chidinma recently brought a 17-year-old-girl who was trafficked into Ogbomosho, Oyo State, from Enugu State. Investigation showed that she bought the girl for N20, 000.
Chidinma allegedly brought the victim to Osogbo and harboured her in a brothel for prostitution. She was also said to have trafficked another teenager from Anambra to Osun State for the same purpose.
Alfa was reportedly arrested after allegedly selling her 15-year-old-daughter to a cartel in Libya as a sex slave.
Corroborating the findings, a human rights activist in the state, who does not want to be named, said that she notified the Department of State Security having discovered that the girls were being used for prostitution.
“I reported the cases to the DSS in Osogbo. The DSS then informed NAPTIP of necessary action. At the end of our efforts, we discovered that a 17-year-old-girl was trafficked from Enugu State to Ogbomoso, Oyo State under the guise of going to learn hairdressing or working in a beer parlour but was forced into prostitution when she got to Ogbomoso. After some time, she was sold to one Chidinma, a prostitute and a human trafficking receiver in Osogbo.
“She also trafficked another girl from Anambra to Osogbo for the same business. The girl is said to be 19-year-old. She was rescued and currently in the custody of NAPTIP.
“Also, one Alfa in Iwo, Osun State, attempted to traffic his 15-year-old-girl to an unknown person in Libya. The trip to Libya was, however, intercepted by some good Samaritans in Kano and the 15-year-old-girl was sent back to Iwo by good Samaritans. The father, still determined to traffic the 15-year-old-girl, had been making desperate efforts to convince the girl spiritually to complete the trip to Libya.
“Luckily, we were able to rescue a 17-year-old-girl and also arrested her mistress who confessed to buying the girl for just N20, 000 last month (October). What the girl has experienced is worse than what our ancestors who were sold into slavery experienced. The 15-year-old-girl, who was sold to a receiver in Libya by her biological father, has been rescued and her father has been apprehended by NAPTIP,” she said.
Meanwhile, NAPTIP has said that it had concluded investigation on Chidinma and consequently dragged her before a Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo on offences bordering on trafficking of girls for prostitution.
NAPTIP prosecuting counsel in the state, A. O. Ademodi, informed the court that the 28-year-old-suspect, Ifeoma Sunday, also known as Chidinma, committed the offence in October by procuring, deceiving and trafficking one Ndubuise Chidera from Enugu State to Osun State, adding that the defendant also trafficked another teenager.
The charge brought against her read that “You, Ifeoma Sunday, a.k.a Chidinma, 28 years, of Jumakai, Ewele Street, Ayepe, Osogbo, Osun State, on or about the month of October, 2022, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured, deceived and trafficked one Ndubuise Chidera, (female), 17 years of age, of Amaekenu Street, Oduma, Enugu, Enugu State, to Osogbo, Osun State for prostitution and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 16(2) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.
“You, Ifeoma Sunday, a.k.a Chidinma, 28 years, of Jumakai, Ewele Street, Ayepe, Osogbo, Osun State, on or about the month of October, 2022, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured, trafficked and harboured one Umahi Amarachi (female), 19 years of Idemiri, Okwa, Anambra State (and) Ndubuise Chidera, (female), 17 years of age, of Amaekenu Street, Oduma, Enugu, Enugu State, to Osogbo, Osun State for prostitution and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 13(2) (a-c) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the allegations in court without being legally represented.
Justice Ayodele Emmanuel adjourned the matter till December 5 for hearing and ordered that the defendant be remanded in custody pending the next court date.