The Department of State Security (DSS) in Calabar has apprehended no fewer than 59 commercial sex workers in efforts to put an end to the illicit activities in the state.
At a press briefing in Calabar on Saturday, the Director of DSS in the state, Mr Ilupeju Adebayo, told newsmen that the sex workers, 43 girls, 16 men, were arrested based on a tip-off from an informant about their plans to initiate some teenagers as new members.
Ilupeju, explained that the sex hawkers who are mostly 13, 15, and 19 years of age, were arrested around 2:15 am on Saturday at Peace Garden Hotel and Papsi Place along Murtala Mohammed highway.
According to him, the girls were made to swear an oath of secrecy of the job by an elderly man who owns the hotel.
“We got an intelligence report and swung into action, we have been on the matter for months. We discovered that the girls are mostly underage, mostly 13, 15, and 19 years of age.
“We also know that they were brought in by a cartel, deeply involved in the business of trafficking and using the girls as commercial sex workers.
“The girls then bring returns to them at the beginning or close of the week depending on their modus operandi.
“We have made some arrests including that of the owner of “Papsi place” a brothel that houses mostly underage girls who pay him N2,000 on weekdays and N4,000 at weekends as lodging fee. They operate from the hotel to clubs and we arrested them stark naked.
“We have contacted the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons while investigations are ongoing until all those involved in the illicit trade are arrested and charged to court,’’ he said.
One of the arrested prostitutes explained that she was lured into the illicit business by a friend.
“I was brought to Calabar through a friend who told me that I will be given a job as a sales girl. She took me to a lady who I only know as Aunty Favour.
“They took me to a brothel at Atamu Street, Calabar South, from where I used to attend night clubs.
“I ran away and then they traced me and brought me back, they wanted to force me to take an oath but I objected and absconded again to meet my friend whom I came with to Calabar then.
“Aunty Favour came there with the boyfriend and some cult boys and beat me up. And told me that if I run they will kill me or I will die.
“So, I usually go to her house to make returns to her every week but I am not happy with the kind of work I am doing; it was never my intentions to do this because my friend did not tell me that it was this kind of job,’’ she said.
One of the suspected sponsors of the sex workers, Mr Edem John, who was among the 16 men in custody and owner of Papsi’s Place, denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he has been warning the underage girls not to come to his place for commercial sex.
He, however, added that because of the trying times, he had no choice but to do his business.
“I have been doing this business for about two years; they pay me N2,000 for the accommodation where they have sex with men.
“Although I have been warning the underage ones to stay away from my place they still come back, and I need to do my business because I have a family to feed,’’ he said.
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