EXPOSED: How These Girls Are Used As Sex Slaves In Lagos

It will shock you how this young girls (teenagers) are
turned into sex slaves in underground cartels:
   "I was in JSS3 at the time, and I was too young
to understand anything. So, when I became
pregnant, I told my boyfriend about it, but he
denied it and ran away. That was how I stopped
going to school. After about two years, I came to
Lagos to hustle. One aunty then introduced me
to this business."

Martha is a 15-year-old girl endowed with beauty but:
She faces a very bleak future as she is held captive in a
brothel in Gbagada, a suburb of Lagos, where she has
to sleep with men old enough to be her father and
surrender her entire earnings to a woman designated
as her aunty. In return, the aunty gives Martha a sum
she deems sufficient to cater for her basic needs.
The more than two decades old brothel is located
close to Sawmill Bus-stop in Gbagada. In it resides a
cartel of mature prostitutes called aunties, to whom
younger girls like Martha are responsible. The older
prostitutes act as guardians to the younger ones aged
between 14 and 19 years. Most of the girls are said to
have been lured to Lagos from Edo and Delta states by
their aunties. With a promise of the good life, the girls
follow the aunties to Lagos only to be lured into
The cartel’s mode of operation is similar to those that
have been reported about innocent Nigerian girls lured
into prostitution in Europe. The girls, who are mostly
from poor parental backgrounds and broken homes,
serve their aunties for as long as two years before they
are deemed matured enough to stand on their own.
A source in the hotel told our correspondent that for
a newly recruited girl to become a member of the
prostitution ring, her aunty has to pay the sum of
N50,0000 to the proprietor of the brothel as
registration fee. After that, the aunty makes the young
girl to sleep with older men. All the proceeds from her
sexual activities go to the aunty who decides how
much is returned to the young girl as “pocket money”.
Our correspondent visited the hotel on a sunny day
last week and met one of the girls named Martha, an
indigene of Delta State. She was decked in a gown that
barely covered her backside. Like a famished tigress,
she rushed towards the reporter, offering him sex.
After a brief discussion, she led the reporter to the
brothel’s bar and was quickly joined by three of her
Martha was the first to order for a bottle of a popular
herbal drink called Alomo Bitters. With promise of a
long-term friendship from the reporter, she opened up
on her past and her dreams, narrating how she
became a sex worker in the hotel.
Surprisingly, she doubles as an apprentice hairdresser,
hoping to settle down into hairdressing business
someday. But for now, she is under contract to serve
her aunty for 11 more months, during which she must
hand over her entire earnings.
Martha said: “My aunty is very nice. She gives me
money, depending on how much I make in a day. I am
from Delta State, and I am learning to become a
hairdresser. I will leave next year after my service.
After that, I will open a shop and become a
It took her no time to finish her drink and order for
another bottle. At this stage, the discussion became
livelier, as the four girls freely talked about their lives
as prostitutes in the brothel.
“I am very brave,” said Martha, beating her chest as
she spoke. “I can take on as many men as are available
at a time.”
But going by her confessions, she is an endangered
species. Besides the meager nature of her income, she
is daily exposed to the danger of being defrauded or
physically assaulted by the men that patronise her.
Only a few days earlier, she lost her cell phone, which
she said she bought for N32, 000, to a client from
whom she had only reaped N2,000.
She said: “The man stole my phone after paying me
N2,000. I called the number and he picked it, but
claimed that the phone belonged to him.”
Asked if she was not afraid of contracting HIV/AIDS,
she said she had received enough lessons on how to
protect herself against sexually transmitted diseases
and other dangers that come with her trade. She said
apart from insisting that her clients must wear
condom, she had been taught not to get carried away
when entertaining them.
“The first thing they taught us was that men are
cunning, and that we should be very careful with
them. We also go for medical check-ups regularly. But
one thing is that we don’t sleep with men without
condoms,” she said.
Martha is not alone in this modern day slavery. She
has a partner in soft-spoken Janet, an indigene of Edo
State. At 17, the second child in a family of seven says
she took to prostitution because she wanted to make a
success of her life.
In her barely audible voice, she said she was forced to
go into prostitution because her elder sister was not
discharging her responsibilities towards their parents.
She is expected to gain her freedom in November,
when she would have served her aunty for more than
one year.
She told a pathetic story of the events that led her into
prostitution, saying that unlike Martha, she plans to go
back to school.
“I want to go back to school. I came here because
there was nothing else for me to do. But once I finish
serving my aunty, I will leave this place completely and
make sure that I go back to school,” she said.
Interestingly, Janet is in the business with her cousin,
15-year-old Pat. Evidently more daring and outspoken
than her two other colleagues, Pat declared that she
wanted the reporter to have a relationship with the
three of them. “I like you. If you no mind, all of us fit
be your friend,” she said, her colleagues nodding in
affirmation while she continued to do justice to the
bottles of Climax energy drink in front of her.
A quick tour of the brothel revealed that it contained
54 rooms, each allocated to an aunty. While a first-
time visitor would only notice the front gate and the
rear gates, a closer observation would reveal other
entry and exit points.
The arrangement of the rooms makes it difficult for a
non-regular visitor to master the terrain. The source at
the hotel said the arrangement was meant to conceal
the activities of the prostitutes.
According to the source, 14 of the rooms are allocated
to teenage prostitutes while the rest are occupied by
their older and more experienced aunties.
At Room 19, a busty lady, probably in her 30s, sat on
a stool by the door. Asked why she was idle at that
time of the day, she said she was waiting for
prospective clients, adding that business had been dull
because of the Ramadan period.
She jumped up at the reporter’s suggestion of a deal.
After a quick negotiation, she agreed to take N750,
down by N250 from the N1,0000 she demanded
A visit to Room 32 revealed that the occupant was one
of the aunties named Faith, from Edo State. She agreed
to give a younger girl to the reporter for a fee to be
agreed. But she argued that she was capable of
anything the younger girls could offer.
Upon the reporter’s insistence, she dashed to Room
30, where some of her girls were sleeping at the time.
The lot fell on 19-year-old Sarah, who quickly went to
another room to prepare the bed.
The innocent-looking girl felt disappointed when she
returned moments later and was told that the reporter
had changed his mind, but with a promise to come
back later in the evening. She ran back into the room,
ostensibly to steal a few minutes of sleep before
another client would come knocking.
Such has been the lot of the young girls in the brothel.
They take care of the sexual needs of their clients at
night and give the proceeds to the aunties. Yet the little
time they have to rest or in the day time is repeatedly
punctuated by clients who stroll in, in the day.
A funny incident had occurred at the brothel the
previous night. Encouraged by the hotel source, the
reporter had stormed the hotel at exactly 8:30 pm,
hoping to take pictures of the girls’ activities. One
needed no one to tell him that one had stepped into
an ‘unholy’ ground. From one room to the other, both
the young and the old prostitutes showcased their
‘wares’ with skimpy dresses.
One of them named Jessica said she had been
expecting a customer for more than two hours
without luck. The reporter’s arrival therefore gave her
the hope of making some money, which she said had
been scarce since the commencement of Ramaddan.
Jessica, who claims to be a mother of one, lamented
the lull that had occasioned the fasting period. She
also said she had been unlucky with her love life.
According to her, she had her child, who is now 11
years old, after she was put in the family way by her
boyfriend. The man later denied the pregnancy, leaving
her and her poor family to cater for the boy.
She said: “I was in JSS3 at the time, and I was too
young to understand anything. So, when I became
pregnant, I told my boyfriend about it, but he denied
it and ran away. That was how I stopped going to
school. After about two years, I came to Lagos to
hustle. One aunty then introduced me to this
But in spite of all that she has been through, Jessica
insists she has no regrets about her past. “What is
there for me to regret now?” she asked rhetorically.
It is now more than a decade that Jessica took the
unholy path of selling her body for money, but both
joy and wealth, the twin reasons she opted for
prostitution, have eluded her. Rather she has had an
unsettled life, with no decent home or man to call her
While denied having any regret, it was obvious that
Jessica was not the happiest of women. Her
expectations from the trade were far from being met.
Unfortunately, she has no other profession to turn to.
She said: “Let me confess, I thought I would have
made it more than this. At a point, I even tried to
travel to Italy, but the aunty who wanted to help me
stole all the money that I saved. She asked me to bring
N500, 000, promising to take me to Italy. I was able to
raise about N400, 000, which I gave to her. But after
that day, I never saw her again. If I didn’t lose that
money, I might have stopped this business by now.”
For Jessica and the other young girls in the brothel, the
future looks bleak. What with their meager daily
earnings, most of which they spend on feeding,
medicals and fairly used clothes. Whatever is left in the
end cannot guarantee the flashy lifestyle that
prompted them to go into the trade.
It is no longer a secret that more than one thousand
Nigerian girls are trafficked to different countries by
prostitution rings in Europe every month. The unholy
trade has assumed a height never seen before in the
last decade, with Italy as choice destination.
However, recent investigation has shown that the
crime is gradually declining in Western Europe
following strict laws on illegal migration and the efforts
of the National Agency for the Prohibition of
Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
But while the fight against the international
prostitution rings may be gaining momentum, with
relative success, locally-based prostitution rings are
devising a model fashioned after the Europe-based
rings to lure young and innocent girls into the world’s oldest profession.
Source: The Nation

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