Anambra government on Tuesday warned brothel operators to stop using underage girls to run their businesses or face prosecution.
Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Mrs Ify Obinabo, gave the warning in Awka on Tuesday while reacting to the rescue of 12 such girls from brothels in the state capital on Sunday.
The ministry, in collaboration with the police, rescued the 12 girls, some as young as 15 years, in a raid at a guest house in Amawbia on June 18.
“Anambra government is committed to putting an end to all forms of child kidnap, trafficking and sexual slavery in the state.
“We got a tip-off and during the raid we discovered that three out of the 12 girls are underage girls who were trafficked into Anambra from other states.
“We are warning to brothel operators in Anambra. They should desist from using underage girls in running their businesses or face the full wrath of the law.
“The owner of the brothel has been arrested and the case will not be treated with levity as it has been transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department, Awka, for investigation,” Obinabo said.
She added that the girls had been taken to hospital for medical examination and treatment and their families had been contacted.
Narrating her ordeal, a 15-year-old rescued girl, told newsmen that she was taken from her home in Ebonyi by two ladies.
She said the ladies tricked her to believe that she would be employed as sales girl in Anambra.
She said she was shocked that she was taken to Awka to engage in prostitution.
“The ladies who brought us to the brothel in Awka seized our phones and other belongings before handing us over to another woman.
“The woman is our madam and she told us that she would not release us unless we pay her N150,000 each or serve her for a period of one year.
“We were mandated to bring between N10,000 and N15,000 every night and N40,000 every Sunday. The men who sleep with us usually pay N1,000 per session.
“We started having issues with our madam because we could not pay the stated sums,” she said.
The girl said herself and other captives used a whistle blower’s phone to get across to their families and the whistle blower in turn notified the ministry and the police, leading to the raid.
Mother of the 15-year-old said she already lodged a complaint at a police station in Abakaliki when her daughter did not return home.
She thanked the commissioner and the police for their prompt response and efforts.