A human trafficking survivor has shared the story of how she slept in the bathroom in Oman for weeks to prevent her boss from raping her.
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.’