Prostitution is seen as one of the oldest professions known to mankind, but it becomes absurd when children freely engage in such practice. From being deceived into the trade, some teenage girls grow to enjoy the services they render, and continue with it, to the point of being involved in taking drugs that enhance their energy to withstand more men, thereby making more money.
Not all the teenagers who are introduced into the business however continue with it. Enquiries by this reporter showed that some hate what they are into, but because they are stuck and held down by their traffickers, they continue grudgingly, while those who are able to, always escape from such places where they are kept.
Many communities in Anambra State have various locations where ladies stay, for the primary purpose of entertaining men who seek sex.
While it is almost becoming normal to have such places, the new trade is to have places where teenage girls provide the same services. Sources disclosed to this reporter that the new trend of having brothels that have underaged girls is because many men now prefer them, while classifying the older prostitutes as being ‘overused’, hence the belief that the younger girls are better.
Mr CY (not real name), a resident of Awka, who spoke during a discussion on the topic, said: “Some men prefer young girls. They believe that such young girls provide greater sexual satisfaction, and since they are not yet as wild as the established prostitutes, they charge less, and constitute less problem to men, unlike the older prostitutes, who may want to embarrass you or put you in trouble.
“On the other hand, there is what I have heard people say, I don’t know if it has spiritual connotation, but some men believe that by sleeping with younger girls, you are renewing your blood, and it makes you fresh, just the same way some women seek young boys, with the aim of using them to renew their blood.
“But one thing you must know is that the kind of men who patronise such places are touts, criminals and some old drunkards. Go to Amansea, you will see a lot of them. Their patrons are mostly Fulani and Hausa boys who tend cattle at the cattle market and conductors of lorries and their drivers.”
Recently, the Anambra State Police Command, working in collaboration with the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, raided a guest house in a community within the state capital, Amawbia.
12 underaged girls between the ages of 14 and 21 were rescued from the guest inn known as Happiness Guest House.
Three of the girls, who were rescued from the brothel, were only one week old on the job before they were rescued. They narrated their ordeal, including how they were brought into the state. The girls who were of Ebonyi State origin were taken from their various homes in Izza and brought to Awka by two ladies named Chika and Ifeoma with a promise to secure jobs for them, but were forced into prostitution.
“The women must have used charms on us. We yielded to all their requests by travelling with them all the way from Ebonyi State to Awka. Upon arrival at the brothel, our phones and other personal effects were seized while we were forced to put on bikinis and handed over to a woman named Ezenwanyi, who told us that we will only regain our freedom if we paid the sum of N150,000 or we will serve her for one year.
“We were mandated to remit the sum of N10,000 to N15,000 per night and on Sundays, they ask us to remit N40,000. Sometimes, we sleep with three or four men a night, and they only pay N1,000 and above, and we used to have problems with Ezenwanyi because the amount we collect is not enough to pay the money she wants,” they narrated.
Speaking on how she was rescued, the girl said: “I collected a phone from a boy who came to the place and used it to call my parents, and told them where I was, and that before they can save us from here, they must come with police because there are many touts there that hinder us from leaving.
“I also told the boy that if my parents call back, he should help us direct them to the place.”
Happiness Guest House is not the only joint that uses underaged girls to sell sex to patrons in Anambra. Several others abound in many interior villages, including in Umunze, Orumba South Local Government Area, parts of Nnewi, Onitsha and others.
Last week, one of such brothels in Oba, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State was also smashed.
The brothel was smashed by Oba youths, after a resolve to rid their community of evil. The youths who organised themselves and stormed the brothel, paraded about eight girls within the ages of 13 and 20, who were kept in a squalid environment, and made to offer sex to patrons.
While the girls were rescued from the brothel and set free, the owner of the brothel, a nursing mother of not more than 40 years of age was also apprehended and mandated to stop using teenagers for sex business, or risk being banished.
In a video circulating on social media, the woman was seen clutching her one year old daughter, while the underage girls narrated how they were lured from the villages around Anambra State by agents of the proprietor of the brothel.
Webteam@ipledge2nigeria , however, learnt that the Women Affairs and Social Welfare commissioner, Mrs Ify Obinabo on hearing of the development, mobilised security men to the brothel to arrest the owner, and take the girls for rehabilitation, but upon arrival, they met a totally empty compound, while the proprietor had escaped.
Mother of one of the girls rescued at Happiness Guest House, Mrs Uchechi, while speaking with journalists, thanked the Women Affairs Commissioner for the rescue operation.
She stated that her daughter’s disappearance was such a harrowing experience as she faced days of sleepless nights after lodging a complaint at the Abakaliki Police Division but felt a bit of relief when she got a call from her daughter which necessitated her reaching out to the Anambra State Ministry of Women and Social Welfare for help.
Obinabo, while speaking with journalists, said the Anambra State government would not tolerate such an attitude, urging parents to ensure the safety of their children.
She said the recent raid is in line with the present administration’s resolve to stem the tide and nip in the bud, all forms of child abuse, child trafficking, child labour, sexual slavery and negative practices against the children and women in the state.
The Women Affairs boss disclosed that the State Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo is in the know about the recent case and that the suspects would be dealt with in accordance to the law.
She also warned hotel and luxury home owners to desist from engaging underaged girls in such illicit practices as offenders would be made to face the full weight of the law.
On the other hand, the Police Command called on parents to make sure they take adequate care of their girl children.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga called on members of the society to reveal such other places, saying that experience had shown that criminal elements usually took refuge in such brothels too.