The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare in Anambra says it rescued two underaged girls and 18 others from a brothel in Oba, Idemili South LGA.
Commissioner Ify Obinabo told journalists in Awka on Wednesday that the girls were forced into prostitution at the facility.
Ms Obinabo said the girls were rescued during a raid on the brothel. She said the raid was carried out by the ministry in collaboration with the state police command following a tip-off by a whistleblower.
She also stated that the underaged girl, about 16 years old, was taken to the hospital for medical examination and treatment.
“Before embarking on the raid, an investigation was carried out by the ministry, and it was discovered that the management of the hotel trafficked girls from all parts of the country for prostitution,” stated Ms Obinabo. “I want to appreciate the police in Anambra for their efforts in the investigation and rescue operation.”
The commissioner added, “It is sad that, in spite of the state government’s efforts to stop trafficking, some people are still committing the crime. We will make sure that justice is served.
“I want to assure residents that the state government is committed to ending all forms of child kidnapping, trafficking, and sex slavery in Anambra.”
The commissioner also stated that the suspects were arrested and are currently in police custody. She said they would soon be arraigned before the Children, Sexual, and Gender-Based Violence Magistrate’s Court in Awka.
Ms Obinabo urged residents to always report any suspicious activities around their environment to appropriate government agencies for prompt response and action.
According to Ms Obinabo, the rescued girls told journalists that some of them came to the hotel through their friends and relatives under the guise of securing decent jobs.
“They seized our phones before handing us over to our madam, who told us that we would only be released if we paid a certain amount of money or served her for a period of one year. We make N4,000 to N10,000 on weekdays and N15,000 to N30,000 on weekends, which we give to our madam and the owner of the hotel, Amaechi Etikokwu,” the rescued girls were quoted to have revealed.
They added, “Each person sleeps with no fewer than 10 men per day to meet the target, and if we do not meet our target, our madam will beat us mercilessly. It is from this money we make that we pay N3,500 as rent to the owner every day.
“They give us N500 daily for feeding, and the food is bought by the security men.”