One Yusuf, staff of a federal agency, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for sexual assault. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without an option of fine, for sexually abusing his house-help (name withheld) who is also his wife’s niece.
He was prosecuted by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Mr Vincent Adekoya, spokesman of NAPTIP, said: “It is expected to teach culprits of sexual abuse of housemaids a very big lesson.”
He quoted Section 23 (1) (a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act of 2015: “Any person who employs, requires, recruits, transports, harbours, receives or hires out a child under the age of 12 years as domestic worker, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a maximum term of six months and not exceeding seven years.
“The agency has continued to leverage on the aforementioned provision to tackle the issue of domestic workers’ abuse headlong. A general advice is that Abuja residents seeking housemaids should tread with caution as many young girls flaunted as housekeepers are actually victims of human trafficking.
“Those profiting from house-help racketeering have perfected the art that victims find it extremely difficult to expose them to regain their freedom. Most of the housekeepers that work in Abuja are usually shipped from villages in Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Kogi states.”
The coordinators, it was gathered, usually shop for single mothers or widows or young women with poor education and exposure. They are then given hurried orientation and brought to Abuja.
On arrival, the ladies are temporarily kept in flats in their numbers in places like Area 1 and Apo from where they are “posted” to various families by the coordinators who they call “brother.”
To quicken the posting process, these “brothers” go to churches or gatherings where they announce that they have house-helps to assist families with domestic chores.
Busy women executives with children usually dive at the offer, especially coming from what appears an organised arrangement where they believe background checks must have been conducted. The housemaids have to juggle many balls. They cook, clean, run errands and do school pick-ups.
While the housekeepers are loaned out by their “brothers” to prospective guardians at varying amounts between N15,000 and N30,000, what actually gets to them is a paltry sum. The “brothers” get the lion share.
Daily Sun learnt that some of the housekeepers often bolt from their places of employment unannounced, leaving their employers terrified. So many reasons are responsible for this including excessive chores, lack of rest, maltreatment and sexual harassment from their masters. Many housekeepers have wrecked many homes by getting pregnant for the husbands of their “madams.” Though they later inform their masters and mistresses of their disappearance, but not without tormenting them for days.
However, some good ones disappear under the pretext of going to visit their sick parents or siblings. In other cases, the whole drama is staged in collaboration with their coordinator, just to move them to another household that would pay higher.
The coordinators keep a close tab on the women because most of them will only pay the coordinators monthly when they receive their monthly stipends from their employers.
Mrs Funke Bidemi, an accountant with a federal ministry said she once changed house-helps four times in one year. She is a widow but a high-class lady who keeps house-helps to assist her clean her compound, do the laundry, go to market and cook.
She said she was surprised to discover that when she went to work her house-help would bring in her boy friends to the house for sex after devouring her food and drinks.
Once she complained bitterly, the housekeeper sought permission to visit her mother but never returned: “In a particular year, I worked with four house-helps. Some got married out, while others simply relocated to other places.”
Faith was surprised to discover that her husband was sleeping with her maid. She said she first noticed that the breasts of the maid were ballooning suspiciously but dismissed it as mere biological transformation:
“I kept quiet until I caught her with my husband on our matrimonial bed having heated sex. I drove her away immediately to save my marriage. It was obvious they had been having sexual romps whenever I was away”.