Trafficking in children and the use of under aged girls for prostitution and sex slavery is increasing on an alarming rate in Rivers State, an advocacy group, Centre For Basic Rights Protection And Accountability Campaign has said.
The group said it reached this conclusion after months of discreet investigations and surveillance of some hotels, clubs and brothels in the State.
Prince Wiro, Secretary, Board of Trustees Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent said the group’s discreet investigation and close surveillance revealed that the disturbing phenomenon has been growing in an alarming rate in the state.
Last week Centre For Basic Rights Protection And Accountability Campaign has unraveled how old female commercial sex workers who seem to be less attractive to male customers goes to remote villages outside Port Harcourt to bring underage girls between 13-17 under the guise of training them in school or use as them as house maid.
“The old commercial sex workers immediately administered oath on the underage girls when they are brought to Port Harcourt. The oath is aimed at instilling fear in the minds of the naive and underage girls not to tell anybody what they are going through.
“When a male Customer comes to patronize the underage girls, the old female sex workers referred to as ‘Madam’ bargains with the male customers and collects money from the male customers while the underage girls goes in to sleep with the male customers”.
It was also discovered that the ‘Madams’ clothes and feed the underage girls, make their hair and use suspected cultists to monitor them closely so that they will not escape. The underage girls are not permitted to use phone.
However, Prince Wiro further revealed that the underage girls do all the house chores, sleeping with an average of 10 men daily, while the ‘madams’ collect all the money. The underage girls gain nothing aside food and little clothes during the period of apprenticeship.
“The underage girls serve the ‘Madam’ in that manner for 12 to 16 months before they are freed and the ‘madams’ go back to remote villages to deceive parents of other underage girls and bring them to Port Harcourt”.
Following discreet investigation by Prince Wiro, Secretary Board of Trustee Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign and his team who disguised as male customers was able to get information from the underage girls in brothels, the investigation indicates that many underage girls are in bondage of sex slavery in many brothels in Rivers State.
According to the group, lack of supervision of brothels in Rivers State by relevant agencies is responsible for the increase in child prostitution in brothels in Rivers State.
It therefore recommended that the Rivers State Government and relevant agencies must do everything within its power to curtail the growing trend.
While agreeing with the findings of the group, Gloria Chinda, head of Rivers National Agency For Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, speaking on a Port Harcourt based radio station, Nigeria Info 92.3 FM news Tuesday morning said there is indeed increase in cases of child prostitution in brothels in the State.
She agreed with human rights advocacy group that the ugly trend involving underage prostitution in Rivers is on a spike.
“We aware of the disturbing trend mostly ran by some brothels and hotels in state. We are currently on surveillance of suspected hotels. Any hotel caught will be shut and proprietors will be arrested and prosecuted.”