A human trafficking victim has narrated how she avoided being raped by her employer when she was working as a maid in Oman.
Oyinlola Solanke, 25, who was rescued by the Erelu Eyinade Foundation, is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University but left the country in search of greener pastures and she fell into the wrong hands.
While in the Arab country of Oman, Oyinlola said she had to lock herself up in a bathroom for weeks and slept there to avoid being sexually assaulted by her boss who was always demanding sex from her.
She said her boss forbade her from locking the door to her room when she retires for the night. Afraid that he might try to gain entrance into her room and forcefully have sex with her, Oyinlola said she began locking herself inside the bathroom all night because she felt safer there after bolting the door.
The victim narrated her ordeal during a walk against girl trafficking and child labour organised by Erelu Eyinade Foundation in Abuja on Thursday.
She told the press that she was lured to the Arab nation by her in-law who convinced her that she could earn N150,000 as a maid. However, when she got there, her passport was collected from her and she was made to work as a maid for a family for 10 months. She said her experience there was nothing short of modern-day slavery.
She said, according to Punch: “While working as a maid, I was prohibited from locking my door when in the room. Few weeks before I came to Nigeria, I was sleeping in the bathroom because I felt that was the only place I was safe; that was the only place I could lock the door behind me. It was hell.
“As I speak, there are still some girls at the airport waiting to board a flight to Oman. There is no greener pasture there. The ladies who are claiming to have houses over there are agents who are making money.
“Before I left Nigeria, I was having some personal issues and I just wanted to be away from everybody. I didn’t have a job, and I felt I could work as a maid since there was someone I trusted over there who was giving me the impression that everything was fine. So I went there.”
To get herself out of the dehumanizing condition, she had to fake her father’s death.
She sadi: “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 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; I had to lie that my dad was dead.
“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 my employer to get a resident card for me; but it wasn’t done.”
She cautioned young Nigerians against falling for the promise of a better life in foreign countries by traffickers, adding that foreigners were treated shabbily and only allowed to do menial jobs there.
She said: “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 or 5 am and working till 1am of the next day.”