Nigerian police have rescued 35 teenage girls from what cops said was a “baby factory” in the southeastern state of Anambra.
The teenagers, four of whom are pregnant, were discovered in the Gally Gally hotel on Monday, where they were kept as “sex slaves [and] prostitution,” police spokespersonTochukwu Ikenga said in a press conference on Wednesday.
They are some of the dozens of women who have been rescued in recent years from so-called “baby factories” – illegal facilities where girls and women are forced to have babies to be sold on the black market.
“Following a rigorous analysis of crime trends and pattern, the command’s operatives, working on information, busted the hotel, where they use children between the ages of 14 and 17 years old for sex slaves, prostitution and baby factory,” Ikenga said.
“We also have the National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons here, whom we shall hand over the victims to for the welfare and rehabilitation of the children. All suspects will be charged to court at the end of investigations.”
Some rescued girls also spoke at the press conference, describing how they were tricked into coming to the hotel under the promise of being able to secure regular work.
“I was lured into the business by a friend who did not tell me that we would be used as prostitutes,” one girl said. “I was told that I was coming to work as a sales girl, only to be trapped. I came there in August 2021. None of us could run away because of the guards there and the heavy security around us.”
The police say they have arrested multiple suspects, including security guards, but they are still searching for the hotel’s manager.