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Busted! Gang who sell Nigerian women into slavery in Middle East dismantled

A criminal syndicate specializing in selling Nigerians into slavery has been busted.

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Paul and Theophilus play

Paul and Theophilus

(Vanguard)

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Two members of a syndicate that specializes in selling desperate Nigerian job seekers into slavery in the Middle East countries, Paul Akpogherhe and Theophilus Ebibowei, have been arrested by operatives of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in Lagos, for allegedly selling a 23-year-old girl for N1.2 million and trafficking her to Kuwait.

The two men who operated in Festac Town area of the state, were nabbed by the police after several petitions were written against them over their activities and how they sold the victim, identified as Quincy Okoangbele into slavery.

It was gathered that the lady had met with Akpogherhe soem months ago and the two became friends.

After some weeks of exchanging communications, he introduced her to Ebiowei and another person simply called Akin, who promised to help her secure a lucrative job in one of the Middle East countries since she was a skilled caterer.

They also told her she would have to make available the sum of N450,000 to process her visa and travelling documents to Kuwait as a job was waiting for her.

Not wanting to miss such an opportunity, the lady and her parents ran around and got the required money which they handed over to the syndicate and she was linked with a female agent in Kuwait but unknown to her, the woman is a human trafficker based in that country.

Full of happiness, Okoangbele boarded a flight to Kuwait, and on arrival, the agent picked her up from the airport and that was when the story changed for her.

Narratting her ordeal, Okoangbele said:

"Trouble started when the agent asked me if I had been briefed by the people who introduced me to her. I said 'no, but they said you would help me secure a job.' To my surprise, the agent then told me that she had bought me from those people and that I was now her slave.

I told her that was not the arrangement. I explained to her that Paul and Theophilus said she will help me secure a job as there are better job opportunities in Kuwait, and they never mentioned they were selling me into slavery.

She told me that I had no choice and that she has spent money to buy me and that she must get value for her money's worth. Sensing that I may cause her trouble, the agent immediately sold me to another family who now recruited me as a slave.

I was given a uniform worn by slaves in Kuwait. Anyone that sees me wearing that uniform immediately knows I am a slave and treats me like a leper. Apart from performing menial jobs, I was subjected to different inhuman treatment as a slave.

As soon as it dawned on me that I was now a slave in a strange country, I began to seek ways to escape. Luckily, I met another Nigerian girl who has also been a slave to another family for almost a year, so she was a bit familiar with the area.

I told her that I wanted to go back to Nigeria since what I was being subjected to is not what I bargained for. She said there was no way of escaping, except we get to the Nigerian embassy in Kuwait. So, we both agreed that whenever we got an opportunity, we would flee to the Nigerian Embassy.

As God would have it, the opportunity came and we left but not without hitches, as every taxi we stopped refused to halt because we were clad in a uniform which identified us as slaves.

After attempting to board a cab for several hours, we pleaded with an Indian woman to help us stop a taxi after narrating our ordeal to her, since we had no clothes other than the slave uniform we wore to change into."

The Embassy helped to come back to the country and she was handed over to NAPTIP officials who swung into action and arrested the suspects.

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