Dubai, the commercial nerve centre of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is known worldwide for business and tourism. The type of business being transacted in this commercial city, however, depends on individuals. While many go there to buy goods, others like some Nigerian ladies go there to sell their bodies as sex hawkers.
While patronage appears to be dropping for those that have been plying the trade in Italy, the market seems to be booming for those that have chosen Dubai as the new epicentre of commercial sex trade. This has led to the emergence of various syndicates that specialize in recruiting young ladies from across Nigeria, courier them to Dubai where they compel them to swear an oath of allegiance recorded on tape and thereafter push them into commercial sex with a view to getting their own share of the money realised.
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A typical example of how the syndicates operate was revealed recently in a video containing a conversation between a suspected human trafficker and her victim who identified herself as Chisom during an oath taking session in Dubai. The video, which had since gone viral, was released on YouTube and facebook when Chisom allegedly refused to keep her side of the bargain. Chisom, who arrived in Dubai sometime in July 2015, was said to have dared her female employer to make real her threat.
Soon after the video went viral in August, the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs. Beatrice Jedy Agba mobilized operatives to trace and fish out those behind the video and possible human trafficking.
That paid off as five suspected human traffickers were nabbed and they confessed to have participated in the movement of Chisom and another Ann whose video also went viral to Dubai.
The suspects were Blessing Gabriel (25), Precious Ejiro Owoh (29), Rose Gabriel (25), Priscilla Effiong Bassey (33) and Terry Smooth (38). One of the victims (Ann) has since returned safely to Nigeria while Chisom is still in Dubai but in touch with NAPTIP.
On their arrest, the head, press and public relations, Josiah Emerole while parading the suspects said that on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, Blessing Gabriel, who trafficked Ann, was apprehended at Agboroko village, Iba New site, Lagos where she was in hiding having sneaked into the country for her traditional wedding.
According to him, earlier surveillance and raid operations by NAPTIP officers at two residences in Lekki Phase 1and Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos, led to the arrest of Pricilla Effiong Bassey, Precious Owoh who investigators identified as suspected recruiters for the Dubai syndicate. Terry Smooth, owner of a hideout for girls from where one of the victims (Chisom) was recruited and trafficked to Dubai, was also apprehended. Rose Gabriel, the principal suspect’s sister, was also apprehended for her role in the trafficking ring.
He further explained that preliminary investigation indicates that Blessing Gabriel has other accomplices in Dubai namely: Gina, Fegor Ebony Ejeba and Nicole Esther Otubu while efforts are ongoing to track them down.
On Chisom’s case, Saturday Sun learnt that sometime in May 2015, someone identified simply as Princess brought Chisom popularly known as Gold to stay in Terry Smooth’s house at Lekki Phase 1. The house for which Terry pays N3.2million per annum is a five-bedroom duplex with two room boys’ quarters which she uses to harbour all kinds of girls from within and outside Nigeria from whom she collects N10, 500 per week. It was in this house that Chisom met Priscilia Bassey Effiong who claims to be a businesswoman from Calabar South, Cross River State.
It was from Terry’s house that Priscilla also known as Prisca recruited Chisom for Ebony Fegor who had been an ally of Priscilla since 2011.
At the NAPTIP office, Pricilla admitted that she knew that Chisom was going to Dubai for prostitution. She claimed that since Chisom left Nigeria in July 2015, she did not hear from her or Fergor until she saw Chisom’s nude video on the internet. She claims that she is still in possession of Chisom’s phone as she owed her before she travelled.
On Ann’s case, Saturday Sun correspondent also learnt that Ann claimed that the initial plan was for her to travel to Dubai as a hairdresser. She was recruited by Precious Ejiro for Blessing Gabriel who is based in Dubai. Blessing was responsible for her travel expenses and as soon as she landed in Dubai, she was forced to swear to an oath and the session was video recorded. She was warned that any failure not to abide by the rule as administered during the oath taking will lead to the video being released on the net.
Insisting that Ann consented to the trip, Blessing said that she has an audio to prove that she was not deceived by anyone to travel to Dubai for prostitution. “I have Ann on audio recording, saying: “I am ready to do anything, including prostitution in Dubai.” I help men get work as drivers, hotel workers and so on in Dubai. This is the first time I am getting involved with a girl. It was Ann’s sister that made the initial contact when one Madam Gina, in Dubai, said she needed a girl to work at a hairdressing saloon.”
She claimed that when Ann arrived Dubai, she took her to Gina, who went with Ann to an inner room, where the video must have been made.
On her part, Smooth, who was accused of supplying girls for the sex trade, said she only gave shelter to girls at her Lekki duplex and had nothing to do with trafficking.
On why she charged each girl living in her house N10, 500 weekly, Smooth said: “I have two security men, pay cable bill, feed the girls, pay light and sundry bills. We need to spend money on these. I have my business. Ask them, no male visitor is allowed in my house. They go out to do their hustle.”
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