By Uchenna Odo
Eighteen-year-old Chineche, from Udi in Enugu State, was lured together with other five girls to travel to Senegal for job opportunities. She, alongside her co-travellers, later found out they had been deceived.
Hear her story, “In February this year, my friends and I were deceived by a man and a woman who live in Senegal. They told us that there were job opportunities there. So we presented our data for passport processing.
“They told us that we were passing harrowing experiences here in Nigeria, and that Senegal would offer us better opportunities, such as cleaners and hospital workers.
“We agreed and they processed documents for us and we were transported to Senegal in February, a journey that lasted for four days.
“When we reached, the reverse was the case. We didn’t know that it was for prostitution.
“They told us that prostitution is a lucrative business, and that we should relax. They said we were still young and men would like to patronize you.
“I was the first person that told them that my parents were not aware of where I was, and that I would not participate. Immediately, my friends joined me and told them they were not prepared for that job.
“They packed us in one room and locked us up. They were bringing only rice and okro soup for us. We were afraid of eating the food at the initial times, but after severe hunger, we started managing it.
“Many Nigerian girls are into prostitution in that country; some are doing it willingly while others were trafficked and forced to be doing it.
“At a point, they forced us to take an oath at a shrine that we would not escape, but we resisted them. They kept us indoors, threatening us that until we succumbed to their desire that we would not be freed.
“One fateful day, as God would have it, they forgot to lock the door after visiting us. We summoned courage and ran away.
“I ran to a police officer who took me to the Nigerian Embacy. I stayed there up to one month. They were using me as maid. I was cleaning their office, doing other jobs for them. They weren’t paying me; neither were they feeding me well.
“I left the place and entered one park. I pretended to be a Muslim because Senegal is a Muslim country. I covered my head and body with clothes. French is the main language there. It was hard to see somebody speaking English unless you are fortunate to see a Nigerian.
“While sitting down helplessly, one man approached me and asked me what I was doing. I became happy that at least I had seen somebody who spoke English.
“I told him that I’m tired in Igbo. He asked which part of Igbo land I came from? I told him Enugu State. Fortunately he is from the community I come from in Udi.
“He is a customs officer. He took me to the airport, paid my flight fees, lodged me in a hotel, and the next day, I boarded a plane back to Nigeria.
“That was how God used the man to save my life. I just pray that my friends will also meet saviors like me.”
Asked whether she knew the man and the woman who trafficked them, she said she could not recognize them again.
She said her co-travellers are from Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia and a state in South West.