A human trafficking victim, Oyinlola Solanke, who was rescued by the Erelu Eyinade Foundation, has narrated how her boss attempted to rape her while working as a maid in Oman.
The victim narrated her experience during a walk against girls trafficking and child labour organised by Erelu Eyinade Foundation on Thursday in Abuja.
During the walk which took off from Millennium Park, Maitama, and terminated at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, the foundation members led by its founder, Ms Toyin Mark, shared flyers to passers-by and motorists.
Solanke, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, stated that her employer prevented her from locking her room anytime she was there, adding that she could only bolt the bathroom door.
The victim said she was lured to the Arab nation by her in-law who convinced her that she could earn N150,000 as a maid in Oman.
She said: “While working as a maid, they don’t allow you to lock your door when in the room. The experience I had in Oman wasn’t a good one. I was told that I would earn about N150,000 which compared to what I was earning here was better. There were a lot of things they didn’t tell me would happen.
“When I got there, my passport was taken from me and secondly, I was not allowed to go out on my own. I spent 10 months there and it was just modern day slavery. I had to put on an act before they permitted me to return to Nigeria.”
She explained that she had to lie that her father was dead in order to leave the country, adding that she got her friends to condole with her on WhatsApp about the alleged demise of her parent.
“I asked some of my friends to chat with me on WhatsApp that my dad was dead. So, I had to lie that I would return to Oman in two weeks. I didn’t come back with most of my things. I still remember when I got there, I told them to get a resident card for me, but they didn’t,” she explained.
Solanke cautioned young Nigerians against falling for the promises of a better life in foreign countries by traffickers, noting that it was untrue, adding that foreigners were treated shabbily and only allowed to do menial jobs.
“As a Nigerian, as a black person, you can’t get a good job there. When I was leaving Oman, I saw a lady who spent just six days and wanted to leave because she couldn’t bear the treatment. She wasn’t sexually abused, but she was over-worked, having to wake up at 4:00 am or 5:00 am and working it till 1:00 am the next day.
“They won’t allow you to sit down for one second. When I started having problems with my boss, before I contacted Erelu Toyin Mark, that was when I knew I was alone on the journey. If not for her, I don’t think I would be in Nigeria now.”
Solanke, who had been employed as the Secretary of the foundation, said she once threatened violence against her boss when he attempted to sexually assault her.
She said: “Sometimes, my boss actually comes to my room, he was always trying to forcefully have sex with me, but I am physically fit.
“I trained in Taekwondo when I was in school and that was one thing that helped me. My boss was a short and fat man, so I used to tell him, ‘If you really want to have sex with me by force, you need to go back to the gym.’”
Mark in her remarks emphasised that the walk was meant to sensitise Nigerians about the evils of human trafficking.
She added that her foundation was collaborating with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to enlighten the public about the menace of human trafficking and child labour.