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20-Year-Old Nigerian Woman Trafficked to Iraq Cries Out After She Escaped Being Raped
A Nigerian victim of sex trafficking has cried out for help.
The young woman identified as Kaosarat Okunade who was trafficked to Iraq, says male residents in two of the houses she worked in tried to rape her.
Okunade, who was 19 when she left Nigeria, told SaharaReporters that her mother paid N250,000 to an agent to facilitate her trip, contrary to the usual practice of the agency or the household in need of an African maid paying for the travel.
Okunade said her maternal uncle received the money from her mother and sent it to other agents along the trafficking chain.
According to her, she was told by the agent that she would be going to Dubai.
When her travelling document came out, it was Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.
Okunade said she had never heard of the country before she embarked on the trip.
“I worked in like four houses in Iraq,” she said. “They want to rape someone. They wanted to be touching my breasts; the work was too much; that is why I had to come back.”
Okunade said she worked in two houses on the first eight days of her arrival.
“I worked in one house for three days. I worked in the second house for five days,” she recalled. “In the first house, the woman just gave birth, and I didn’t know how to take care of a baby.
“In the second house, I shouted at the son; he was trying to bring down the television. The Madame decided that she didn’t want me.”
Nigeria does not have any diplomatic representation in Iraq, so Okunade decided to return to Nigeria after enduring working in a third house, where she said sexual passes were made at her.
Okunade said she ran to the police, who returned her to the job placement office.
“I stayed in the office for three months. They beat me and broke my phone. It was the $300 I made from the first house where I worked that I used to eat,” she said.
In the fourth house where she worked as a maid, she said she endured molestation.
“I had to record the Madame’s son trying to rape me for him to leave me alone,” Okunade said. “When I told them I was too tired to work, and I wanted to go home, they beat me and seized my phone.”
She eventually established a connection with Hopes Haven Foundation, an NGO that tracks and rescues trafficked women.
Okunade said all the money she had earned in the last three months of work was used to pay for her return ticket to Nigeria.
“I came back with nothing,” she said. The N250,000 I paid my mother’s brother, we borrowed it. My mom is sick, and there’s no money, I did not give her anything.”
The 20-year old who spent eight months in Iraq said she did not complete her secondary school education.
She said she traded second-hand clothes before her ill-fated search for a better life in Iraq.
According to Hopes Haven, there are 12 more women on their database in Iraq.
The foundation estimated that there could be many more as traffickers have been placing adverts for work in Baghdad and there are persons who search for vulnerable victims to take the bait.