Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Pathfinder, has disclosed the rescue of 50 forced sex hawkers. The Base Information Officer, Lt.-Cdr. Richard Iginla, who paraded the suspects and the rescued victims on Sunday, said the raid was carried out in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
Lt.-Cdr. Richard Iginla, disclosed that the 50 prostitutes, mainly teenage girls were rescued in the early hours of Saturday after a tip-off from NAPTIP
Source quoted Iginla as saying, “We got the intelligence from NAPTIP, who had been tracking the brothels that camped juveniles with some of them as young as 14 years of age.
“So, after NAPTIP shared intelligence with us, a joint team was set up and we immediately went into action to rescue the victims.”
“No fewer than 50 young girls forced into prostitution were rescued while three recruiters and operators of the brothels were arrested,” he added.
Iginla gave the names of the brothels as Royal Brothel and Cool Breeze Brothel both located on Azikiwe Road in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt. Both have been shut down.
He disclosed that a manhunt has been launched for the leaders of the sex trafficking ring, which recruits children from villages into prostitution.
“Children are gifts from God, and we must do everything humanly possible to protect them from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
“The Nigeria Navy will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies to bring to justice criminal elements that traffic persons either on land or through the waterways.
“On conclusion of our investigation, the suspects and victims will be handed over to NAPTIP for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he added.
Speaking, the Head of NAPTIP in Rivers, Mrs Nwa-amaka Ikediashi, said the agency would immediately rehabilitate the victims with a focus on reintegrating them back into society.
According to her, the victims, mainly under-aged girls, would also partake in different phases of counselling, to ensure they don’t continue prostitution.
“NAPTIP, as the focal agency mandated to fight all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, will conduct a proper investigation, to ensure justice is served,” she promised.