The Delta State Police Command on Sunday said it has uncovered a syndicate that allegedly trafficked 12 schoolgirls from the state, and 13 other girls abroad for prostitution, saying the traffickers were currently on the run in the Uvwie and Okpe Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Edafe Bright, who spoke to journalists in Asaba, said the Anti-human trafficking unit of the police uncovered the syndicate at the weekend after detectives attached to the unit discovered that several schoolgirls were being trafficked to Cote d’Ivore for prostitution.
According to DSP Bright, the girls were allegedly trafficked by a female member of a trafficking syndicate without the consent of the parents, noting that a parent of one of the victims identified as Peculiar (Surname withheld), a 15-year old Senior Secondary School (SSS1) student of Ugbomoro Secondary School, Ugbomoro, in Uvwie LGA of the state, said she had been psychologically traumatised when she heard about her daughter’s predicament.
It was gathered that Peculiar was among the 25 schoolgirls who fell victims when the syndicate operated at Alaka and Orerokpe before disappearing, as the syndicate allegedly sent words to Peculiar’s parents not to declare her missing but continue to pray for a successful return before the girls crossed the border.
Peculiar’s father, Kingsley (Surname withheld) told Journalists in Asaba on Sunday that trouble started in September 2020 when his daughter began to put up a strange behaviour and refused at times to return home to sleep.
He said, ”Suddenly, my daughter started behaving funny, she ran out of our house at Ugbomoro to Alaka to stay and when she was brought back, she went there again. I suspected it was not ordinary. I took her to the General Hospital at Ekpan but the doctor who attended to her said she was normal.
“We took her to a deliverance church and for two days, her behaviour returned to normal and we were happy but suddenly she became something else and ran to Alaka. The next thing was a call from her in Lagos and thereafter Cote d’Ivore.”
The victim’s father noted that the syndicate had called his wife’s mobile phone and demanded N300,000 before they could send her back to Nigeria when the Federal Government reopens the borders, adding that his efforts to get his daughter back through the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and authorities of Uvwie LGA had failed on several occasions.
Kingsley said that he was left with no option than to report to the police at Uviwie who had been on the matter.