A reporter has gone under cover to expose the lifestyle of underage sex workers in Lagos. It was reported that at a brothel, more than 2 decades old, located close to Sawmill Bus-stop in Gbagada, teenage girls mostly from poor parental backgrounds and broken homes were recruited to deliver sexual services to older men.
The cartel’s mode of operation is similar to those that have been reported about innocent Nigerian girls lured into prostitution in Europe. These girls serve their aunties for as long as two years before they are deemed matured enough to stand on their own.
According to a source in the hotel, 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”.
A correspondent visited the hotel on a sunny day last week and met one of the girls named Martha, an indigene of Delta State. 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 colleagues.
She later opened up on her past and her dreams, narrating how she became a sex worker in the hotel.
“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,” she said.
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.
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.
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.