By Yetunde Arebi
Many linked on to some of the social media platforms would have seen the videos of two Nigerians girls that went viral late last week. The videos, shot in Dubai, showed the girls declaring allegiance to a female voice heard in the background that they had become her sex slaves as a result of a purported $30,000 debt owed to her.
The money is accrued from the cost of visa, transportation, accommodation, feeding and other sundry expenses on each of the girls by their mistress, including the gains from the proceeds of her investment. Each girl promised to repay the said debt through prostitution as would be arranged for them by the woman. They also promised to abide by all the rules as would be laid down by their mistress and would not cause any trouble for her and their operations.
What made the videos damning was the fact that the girls were stark naked and the person recording ensured that the camera was zoomed in on all the essential private parts and faces of these girls, such that it would be quite difficult for them to refute their identities. Second was the fact that the female voice was threatening hell and brimstones, should the girls default on paying their debts or attempted to play a fast one on her by running off or reporting to the Police. On the repercussions for such actions, the videos of their naked bodies would be posted on all social media platforms.
That is not all, subtle threats of life were also made on their families, especially to fair-skinned Chisom who already had a baby boy back in the village.
The case of Precious from Edo State was even more pathetic as she claimed to have been escorted to the first swearing centre back in Nigeria by her mother who naturally becomes the first target as the guarantor. The videos were shot in August 2014 and judging by the fact that they have found their ways unto the internet, it is an indication that these young ladies have escaped from the clutches of their mistress. For now, their whereabouts cannot be ascertained, though I strongly believe that they might still be out there somewhere in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Naturally, reactions by Nigerians to the videos have been diverse, even though a large percentage, including yours truly have been calling for the head of this woman. By last night, (Wednesday) I received a post that the voice behind the video had been unmasked. Through the efforts of one Mr. Emeka Ugwuonye and some others, a Nigerian woman identified as madam Esther Otubo Nicole has been identified as the alleged pimp who takes young girls into major cities of the world, including Dubai for prostitution.
Nicole is said to hail from Bayelsa State and resident in the Marina district of Dubai. It is ironic that this woman has a young daughter who is currently serving in the NYSC in Nigeria. (hmm! the wicked know how to care for their own) If indeed, this Nicole is the brain behind the enslavement of these young girls, then I must congratulate all those that have chipped in to unravel this case so swiftly. It would appear that for some, the judgement of God comes very quickly.
The same hole that she dug (video/internet) to disgrace and tarnish others have turned out to be her undoing. She probably never knew that it is very easy to trace the source of such information in the media space. This is a confirmation that Nicole is not a professional or tough cookie as she perceived herself to be. Otherwise, she would have covered her tracks better, and not fall like a pack of cards in less than 72 hours.
The other good thing to take away from this case is that where there is a will, there is also a way. If Nigeria and Nigerians are determined, we can still salvage what is left of our nation and people and come out even better for our efforts. Let me reiterate here once again that the Nigerian Police Force as well as other security agencies cannot but adopt and invest in modern technology in their operations, especially in crime investigation and prosecution, if we truly mean business.
While one must acknowledge the efforts of the various organisations and agencies involved in the collation of citizens’ data, such as the banks, National Drivers License and National Identity Card programmes, these efforts must also be complimented with a data bank for both convicted and suspected criminals by the Police. Already, plans are already in top gear for sex offenders and crimes relating to domestic violence. Adequate networking of the various data banks will make accessing information and solving crimes easier, faster and more accurate.
Back to the videos, though the two girls appeared a bit shy and uncomfortable in the interview, there was nothing to suggest from their countenance that they were innocent or lacked knowledge of their circumstance and what laid ahead of them. For every question their madam asked, they had an answer and the right one at that. They had come to oil rich Dubai to make money through prostitution with international business men and local wealthy oil sheiks, depending on the profile of their clientele. They were not lured or cajoled by this madam that they were going to engage in some white collard jobs in a country where they had no legal papers to live or work.
Besides, it is obvious from their appearance that they lack the educational background for any such employment in a foreign land. They knew right from the beginning what they were being taken to Dubai or any other country to engage in. After all, is it not to just lay on your back, do “the thing” and get up? They were no virgins and have either been doing “the thing” free of charges, for a fee or some other material gains since God knows when. So, if they are now blessed with the chance to do it on a professional level to improve their lot and ensure a better future for themselves and family at large, why loose such an opportunity? Like Precious, many of them travel with these merchants with the consent of their parents who believe that these girls are their money making machines and the money is the fruit of their labour over them.
The fact that they are going to travel all the way to obodo oyinbo country to “do it” makes it all the better. After all, not a few parents offer prayers that their children should one day hit it big and travel abroad to bring back the proverbial golden fleece. What they did not know is that when sex becomes a chore or duty, it diminishes its pleasures and excitement. When sex becomes a blatant exchange of money and services, it debases the act and the integrity and self esteem of the one at the receiving end. Sex becomes undesirable when you have no control over who, when and how it is done. Sex loses its appeal when every Tom, Dick and Harry of various shapes, length and sizes plunge in and out at will. This is probably what these girls did not bargain for. Their inability to negotiate favourable terms of service must have led to what we are now being fed on the social media. Who is to blame? Everybody, the girls, their parents, the merciless merchants, the society and government.
The madam on her part appears to be a very greedy and mean woman. From the video, she claims she has six girls in Dubai and another five in Abu Dhabi, making a total of 11 girls. $30,000 from each of them is about N6.000,000 on each girl multiplied by 11, comes to N66.000,000 (Haba!) That is the height of wickedness, no matter the manner of capitalism being deplored here. Pray, what is the cost of her investment? With N25, 000 you will get a Nigerian International Passport, in one day too. Less, if you go through the official bureaucracy. Depending on your agent, a Dubai visa will cost between $150 and $200, that is less than N40.000 at the current exchange rate and depending on your preferred Airline, to and from Dubai with an economy ticket will cost about N150,000 -N180.000. So, how did this ridiculous $30,000 come about? In exploiting helpless people and situations, we must learn to have some fear of God in us. The whole drama probably would not have happened if the conditions were not so severe and stifling for the girls. And madam will not have the law on her trail right now too.
I was in Dubai early July and did stumble into a similar story which I plan to follow up on my next trip, if God wills. I had visited a spa located in the Mankhool district in Bur-Dubai for a Moroccan bath and massage. My attendant was a very pretty, young lady who, almost white skinned, I suspected was African. We soon struck a conversation and I asked her about night life in Dubai. I had particular interest in the homosexual community which she confirmed was a thriving one. She said the law is aware but as long as it is not in public display, no one gets hurt. She promised to take me out to some of the clubs but only during day time as she works all through the night, six days a week at the spa. She could get me an escort if I was very keen.
Unfortunately, it was my last day in Dubai but we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to continue our “friendship” on my next visit. In the course of our discussion however, we touched on prostitution and the girl wasted no time in telling me that she had come from Ethiopia about four months back and would be working for her boss for two years to pay back a debt of $10,000 being the cost of visa and transportation to Dubai, plus her accommodation for the duration.
Her older sister was also doing the same job and had come to Dubai three years before her and paid back all she owed their madam. It was through the impressive conduct of her sister that the madam agreed to help her too. I found it a bit weird that at 22 years, she was married and divorced with a baby boy who she claimed is less than a year and is being raised by her mother back in Ethiopia.
She earns a commission on every client she takes on and depending on the services rendered earns a tip. So, is sex included in the services? Yes! And the tip is determined by type of sex act rendered or generosity of the client. You see, I’ve always had my suspicions about some of these spas. (Loul!)