Unfathomed atrocities were exposed recently when operatives of Eagle Crack Squad of the Rivers State Police Command, acting on a tip-off, stormed a hotel located at Mile 1, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, and busted a prostitution ring run by a 44-year-old kingpin identified as Esther Isama.
The operation liberated some teenagers, aged 13 to 15, who had passed through harrowing experiences ranging from being locked up in a hotel against their will to being forced to take an oath to being coerced into drug abuse and paid sex while their captor was smiling daily to the bank.
The long arm of the law caught up with the “Evil Madame” who is presently a guest of the police. Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mustapha Dan Daura confirmed the hotel manager was also arrested.
Saturday Sun spoke with two of the rescued victims. From Favour Onagbor, 13, an indigene of Imo State, came this startling tes- timony: “Our mama (Esther Isama) came and deceived my parents that she would take us away from the village to Port Harcourt to give us a job in a restaurant. When we got to Port Harcourt, it was a different story. She intro- duced us to prostitution.”
According to her, they were pressured to make a return of N8, 000 daily from sleeping with as many men as possible. “Mama would starve us for six days. She would keep us locked inside the room. She gave us Tramadol to use before the men were brought in to have sex with us,” she alleged. She also claimed some of them fainted during long sex sessions.
A second victim, Vivian Og- bonna, 14, also from Imo State, also corroborated that they were lured from their parents with the promise of a greener pasture only to be forced into prostitution. She also corroborated that “any day we didn’t bring money for her, she would starve us of food for days.”
She dropped a bombshell when she claimed their private parts and armpits were shaved and the hair taken to a herbalist’s shrine for some black magic to keep them “padlocked” so they could not escape from the hotel and the prostitution ring. As if that was not frightening enough, they were also forced to swear an oath, she claimed.
Guilty as alleged?
Esther Isama did not deny the allegations when she spoke with Saturday Sun. A native of Awa Village in Ugwuta Local Government Area of Imo State, Isama admitted that she special- ised in recruiting underage girls, mostly aged 13 to 15, into her prostitution ring.
“I usually deceive their parents in the village that I have jobs for their girls in a big restaurant. I usually went to Imo, Akwa Ibom and Anambra states to scout for the girls. I promised to give them jobs in Port-Harcourt”.
Once they reached Port Harcourt, she showed her true colour to the naïve girls. “I usually camp them in the hotel where I introduced them to prostitution. I gave them a condition that they must meet a target of N8, 000 daily, failure of which they would be starved for some days. To make it easier for them, I gave them Tramadol and I took the men to them for sex.”
Isama did not also refute the allegation of rituals and the use of diabolical powers against her victims. “When some of the girls were asleep, I shaved their private parts and armpits and took the hair to the shrine of a herbal- ist to ‘padlock’ them so that they would not be able to run away,” she stated.
The woman who admitted “making money through them,” also confessed to have recruited over 15 girls. Eventually, some of the girls escaped from the hotel and alerted the public, prompting detectives to storm the hotel and consequently arresting the organisers of the racket
Isama understood her precari- ous position. She told Saturday Sun: “I have confessed everything to the police.”