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I was lured into slavery in Lebanon with promise of $2,000 monthly wage, returnee narrates ordeal

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• NAPTIP nabs two for allegedly trafficking baby delivered by mentally-challenged woman
Folashade (surname withheld), a 34-year-old hairdresser in Lagos State yesterday narrated her ordeal in the hands of suspected human traffickers who promised her heaven on earth outside the shores of Nigeria. According to her, the prospect of travelling abroad and be successful lured her to follow a Lebanese when a friend told her there was a job at Lebanon where she would be paid a jumbo pay of $2,000 monthly.

But alas, she told newsmen that the four months she spent abroad seemed like four years as she was subjected to hard labour and consequently fell ill.

Kikelomo added that when her husband wanted to secure her release from the Lebanese, he was frankly told that until they bring a replacement to Lebanon she was going nowhere. She also hinted that she was sexually harassed during her stay at Lebanon.

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She said: “I have been hearing news of travelling abroad to be successful. So, when my friend introduced me to a Lebanese that his mother needed a domestic help and the person would be paid $2,000 per month, it was a very good offer for me. I was a hairdresser and married with three kids but I wanted a better life for myself and children. So, I jumped at the offer. But when I got to Lebanon, it was a different story as I was subjected to pure slavery; this is different from being a domestic servant.

“I was treated like a slave, I really suffered. In fact, I wanted to die. For feeding, I was only given bread and Lipton as food and when I complain I would be allowed to eat their crumbs. My only saving grace was that I had a phone, which I used to call my husband in Nigeria that I was in hell. Initially, they wanted to collect my phone but I refused, so I was allowed to use it only at night.

“That was how I informed my husband to do everything he could to get me back to Nigeria. So, he contacted the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for my rescue. I advise young Nigerians not to fall for the lies of green pasture abroad, it’s a scam. Nigeria will be great,” she said.

In his remarks, the NAPTIP Commander, Lagos Command, Daniel Atokolo, warned against the recent exodus of Nigerian ladies to countries like Lebanon and United Arab Emirates in search for opportunities. He urged Nigerians not to only assess the job offers made by foreign benefactors but also do a personal assessment of their qualification to fit the roles in the proposed opportunities.

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In another development, NAPTIP also apprehended two women for their involvement in the purchase and sale of a month old baby belonging to a mentally challenged woman. “The current facts of the case indicate that this is the fifth time this helpless mother was to lose her babies to the greed of people and sad situations around her,” Atokolo said.

The two women were arrested after they were alleged to have been involved in the selling and buying of the baby delivered by a mentally-challenged woman on January 30. “The agency totally disagrees with Nigerians who may argue that the move is in the interest of the baby. The agency, therefore, calls on citizens with good intentions to explore legal means of adopting babies.

“This crime is punishable by law because the illegal avenues availed unscrupulous elements the opportunity to exploit both women and their young infants, even for ungodly activities such as rituals,” he said, warning that the agency led by its Director-General, Mrs. Dame Okah-Donli, would continue in the fight against human trafficking.

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