‘How my Facebook friend, kinswoman in prostitution ring trafficked me to Mali’ - Naijarecent
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‘How my Facebook friend, kinswoman in prostitution ring trafficked me to Mali’

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A young lady simply identified as Favour, has narrated how her Facebook friend connived with a woman from her hometown to trafficked her to Mali for prostitution in the guise of giving her a legitimate paying job.

Favour said the tortuous journey through difficult terrains and different countries saw her sleep in open motor parks and shanties constructed with polythene bags and wood.

According to The Nation, she stated this after she was rescued and re-united with her family following more than a month of sojourn in some West African countries.

The graduate of Environmental Health from College of Health Technology located in her hometown, Ezzamgbo in Ohaukwu Local government Area of Ebonyi State, described her ordeal as traumatic and harrowing.

After she completed the compulsory one year National Youth Service, NYSC, in Osun State, Favour, returned home in April 2022.

She noted that it was at this point that she met her supposed girlfriend named Mabel Ifeoma, who hailed from Ngbo, a neighbouring town to Ezzamgbo, on Facebook. Mabel would later become the architect of her trafficking ordeal.

According to her, Mabel lied that they were going to Lagos for the job but along the line the destination changed to Togo. But instead of Togo she was taken to Mali through the Republic of Benin.

She said: “We started chatting and became girlfriends. Last year (2022), she came back and attended the burial of one of my relatives, and that was the first time I met her in person.

“One day, she called me on the phone and told me that she had got a job for me in Lagos and that she would like me, herself and her sister to go for the job.

“I asked her the type of job and she said it was supermarket work as sales girls. I told my parents about it and they said they must see her in person before they could grant her permission to travel.

“She didn’t want to come at first but I pleaded and she later agreed. She came and told my parents that the woman’s husband was based abroad and needed three people that would be working for her.”

Favour’s parents, after asking Mabel series of questions and receiving assurances that the job was genuine, agreed to let her travel.

Favour said as a devout and dedicated Christian, she had a revelation of what was in store for her on the journey.

“So, that day, we left my village and came to Abakaliki to sleep in the house of the brother to the woman who wanted to employ us so that we could leave early in the morning.

“We got there and went to bed, and I had a dream that night in which they asked us to do prostitution. But before then, Mabel had shown me the lady’s picture, which turned out to be someone from my village who I know very well.

“She (Mabel) asked me what I would do if it turned out to be prostitution, and I said God forbid, I would not do it.

“So in the dream that night, I refused to engage in prostitution and instead was preaching to them not to engage in prostitution; that it is not good.”

She said when she woke up and told Mabel about the dream, she easily dismissed it, assuring her that it was a mere dream and it did not have to turn out that way.

Favour added: “I was a bit worried but still chose to continue the journey. However, as soon as we entered the bus and it took off, she told me that the destination had changed and we would now be going to Togo and no longer Lagos. I became a bit scared and confused.

“When we got to Lagos, the contact person that was supposed to come and get us couldn’t come as it was very late, so we slept in the park.

“The following day, someone came and took us to a place where they asked our names, which they used to produce passports and yellow fever cards for us.

“From there, they took us to one river and gave us life jackets and we entered the boat. The boat took us to Benin Republic and they took us to a hotel where we stayed for about two days.”

Favour recalled that while they were waiting, someone called Mabel and asked her where they were going and she said Mali.

“The person advised that we should go back, that it was not restaurant but prostitution that we were going to do there.

“I later collected the phone from her and sent a voice note to our supposed Madam, asking her to tell me the truth if it was prostitution or restaurant work we were going to do.

“I told her that I would not compromise my faith if it turned out to be prostitution. She replied that it was restaurant work and not prostitution.

“In the night, we left in two buses. But this time they separated us. I was in one bus with one guy and Mabel was in another bus with her sister.

“When we got to Burkina Faso, they separated us. They gave me N10,000. I bought a SIM card and went online, and I saw so many messages from my family. When I told them where I was, they shouted and told me to come back.

“They went and reported to a former commissioner from my town, Prince Ndubuisi Chibueze Agbo, who called her and warned her not to do anything to compromise me.

“She became angry and asked me why I was giving out her number to different people. She however agreed that I would go back but I should first come to where she was.

Favour said from there they took her to Bamako and then to another town.

“We got there late at night and spent the night in the park with mosquitoes biting me. I slept there and Mr Agbo called and said I should look for a police station.

“But the people couldn’t understand English so it was difficult. When I saw one man who wanted to direct me, another man sent by the woman came and interrupted our discussion and took me away.

“From there they took me to another place where I met a woman from Edo State who knew my supposed Madam, whose name is Onyi Blessing.

“She told me that Onyi Blessing asked her to put me on a motorcycle and bring her to where she was. I thought it was a short distance but, unknown to me, it was another very long and tortuous journey.

“For so many hours we travelled on a bike through very remote areas, more than five Rivers and streams and different forests and bushes. I became afraid that they were going to kill me, because the area was very remote”.

Miss Favour narrated that when she finally got to where her supposed madam Blessing Onyi, was, the woman opened up to her that it was prostitution she was brought there to do.

She said the woman received her warmly at first and apologised to her.

“She said she would not have brought me if she knew I was from the same town with her. She also tried to convince me to do the work but I refused.

“Her younger sister, who was also into the job, also came to advise me to join, saying it is very lucrative, but I refused.

“Madam Blessing warned me to be careful of the kind of friends I keep as she paid Mabel money to bring me and that Mabel was aware what they were coming to do but was lying to me all along.”

But Favour said that Blessing later became hostile and refused to let her leave as earlier promised after Mabel ran away.

“However, Mabel ran away and she refused to let me go. She said I must refund all the money she spent to bring us.

“She said I must go into the prostitution business to make the money for her or work for her in her small shop where she sells some drinks. She said I must give her N1.5 million before she would let me go.

“She stopped feeding me. I couldn’t even get water to bath. The whole situation became unbearable.

“I saw hell at her hands. Men would come and tell her that they wanted to sleep with me and she would tell them to go and ask me; that it was my decision, but I always refused. I depended on people dashing me money to buy something to eat”

Favour said she spent her days at the place crying and at some point even contemplated committing suicide until someone from the Nigerian Embassy called to inform her that they were coming after Mr Agbo had contacted them.

“They asked me where I was and I asked someone who told me the name of the place is Beleko. They said they were coming in five days and I told them to come earlier that I might be dead in five days.

“Before they came, all the girls there got wind of their coming and ran away. She (Blessing) also took my phone and ran away.

“When they came, they met me and took me to the Embassy. They kept me at the centre where they keep other rescued people like me.”

Favour said she helped the embassy officials to locate the third victim and Mabel’s sister who traveled with them.

“From the embassy, they arranged and brought us back to Nigeria and back to my state where my family received me,” she said.

The trafficked victim advised the youth, especially young girls, to be careful who they make friends with.

“Not many of them mean well for you. They should stop going to Lagos or outside the country in the name of work. They should stay where they are and wait on God and He will surely bless them,” she said.

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