Friday, 10 May 2019
Human Trafficking Survivor Narrates How She Slept in the Bathroom
Oyinlola Solanke, 25, who spoke to Punch during a walk against girl trafficking and child labour organised by Erelu Eyinade Foundation in Abuja on Thursday, said she was lured to Oman by her in-law, who told her she could make N150,000 per month working as a maid.
Oyinlola, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University said she was having personal issues prior to leaving Nigeria and just wanted to be away from everyone. She didn’t have a job at the time, and since she had someone she trusted over there, everything looked fine.
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.
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.
As a Nigerian, as a black person, you can’t get a good job there. 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.
Sometimes when my boss came to my room, he was always trying to forcefully have sex with me, but I refused physically fit. I trained in Taekwando when I was in school and that was one thing that helped me. My boss was a short and fat man, so I used to tell him, ‘If you really want to have sex with me by force, you need to go back to the gym.’