Gladys Osayande, a Nigerian woman from Benin City, Edo State, who was trafficked to Ghana, has recounted the harrowing experiences of torture and inhumane treatment inflicted upon her by her captors.

Osayande who was lured through fake job recruitment to Ghana, narrated that,“ the traffickers resorted to various forms of physical torture and abuse to coerce us into business email scams, BEC and cybers*x.

“They made us pose as management staff of a corporate network to convince targets into sending money to an account. Targets were usually companies that used wire transfer to pay international clients.

“I was fed twice a day, by 12 noon and 10pm. I worked all day on the internet. I was given a target to make at least $10,000 a week. If I didn’t make it, the sanction was starvation for two days. In addition, they would invite some men to have s*x with me, while they streamed the process and downloaded it in p0rn apps in exchange for an undisclosed amount. I was told that was the only way to make up for the target I failed to meet.”

“For the males, they would spray tear gas into their eyes and  use electric shocks on them. I was among those rescued by the Ghana’s Economic and Organised Crime Office, EOCO in collaboration with the Ghana Police in Accra, in 2023.”

According to Vanguard, another victim was 23-year-old Uchedun Ndidi, who is from the Ohii community in Imo State’s Owerri West LGA.

She left her hometown for the first time in 2022, after obtaining an email offer of admission to study Communication at a well-known institution in Ghana.

She said, “I arrived Accra, Ghana on March 3, 2022. A man who identified himself as Abeiku came to pick me up in a car to an apartment he said was a hostel. He told me they had done the online registration on my behalf. I believed him because when I checked the school’s calendar online, it corresponded with the information they gave.

“Besides, they said I would pay just 20 percent of the school fees which was N80,000 and that I could spread the payment in four installments before the end of the session. I jumped at the offer because it was cheaper than what I would have paid in any of the Nigerian universities. Besides, it came at a time when an indefinite strike was embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

“The next morning, I quickly got up to take my bath and get ready for school but another man whom we called boss, came in, took the cash meant to pay my fees from me, with my luggage.

“Without any explanation, he took me to a room upstairs where there were many laptops. Immediately he entered, everyone stood up and chorused: ‘Good morning boss.’ He walked with an air of arrogance to a corner and beckoned on me to come. Thereafter, he instructed one of the young men in the room to put me through. They taught me how to work on some of their social media apps and how to lure men from any part of the world with whom I would go into a fake online relationship, to scam them with fake business proposals.

“They created a new Facebook page for me and posted my real picture on it. They changed my name to Louisa Hamadou, a Cameroonian studying in Ghana. They had over 15 corporate bank accounts where money was paid into.

“Three of us, all females , attempted to escape once. We were beaten and starved for days. We were drugged and gang-r*ped, while the process was streamed live for cybers*x. From that day on , we were forbidden to speak with each other.

“We were only allowed to sleep for three hours a day. Those hours of rest were broken into 30 minutes each, both in the day and at night. I was only allowed to speak with my widowed mother once a week, under supervision and I was forbidden to tell her the true position of things.

“ In January 2023,  I saw them rushing out of their rooms. This was after the ‘boss’ received a telephone call. In his deep baritone voice, he ordered in pidgin English: ‘Everybody find your way o. Officer just call, him say Ak dey come o ( Everyone should escape. I just got a call that policemen were on their way here.)”

Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), described this trend as alarming while discussing emerging trends in human trafficking for 2024 at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

She  said, “As part of our comprehensive enlightenment strategies to equip Nigerians with timely and accurate information to reduce their vulnerability, we have received reports indicating that traffickers have adopted new tactics to lure unsuspecting victims, predominantly to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, and other West African nations.”

She continued, “Under the guise of lucrative employment opportunities in gold mining and oil companies, victims are enticed with promises of monthly incomes as high as nine hundred dollars ($900.00), which, as always, are blatant lies. “Victims are often instructed to bring about eight hundred and fifty thousand naira (N850,000) for documentation and other logistical expenses. Upon arrival at their destination, traffickers confiscate this money with the victims’ phones and other personal belongings.”

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