A 23-year-old victim of human trafficking, Damilola Falodun, has narrated how she escaped from those who had trafficked her overseas for slavery.
She also advised children on vacation to beware of peer groups and always stick to wise words of their parents at every point in time.
Damilola recalled that she traveled to Oman, Nizwa, an Arab country in June 2016 after she lost her parents and had no one to assist her.
“I lost my parents in 2014, after which I tried to assist myself and so I worked with some organisations where I got in contact with these agents.
“I was convinced of their promises because I was helpless and then I saved enough money to travel out, thinking that change of environment was the best option,” she said.
“The agents convinced me that travelling out was the fastest way to make money, but I ended up being a slave out there.
“I urge young girls and boys to use this holiday period to learn skills instead of hanging out with bad company,’’ she added.
She said that she was remarkably lucky to back home, adding that she was rehabilitated when she got in contact with Ronke Ademiluyi, the Queen Moremi ambassador.
“It took the Grace of God for me to escape; there are several girls out there who would love to come back home, but there’s no one to help them.
“I’m grateful to Ronke Ademiluyi who linked me to the Ooni of Ife, who is currently sponsoring my education in Open University, taking care of my accommodation and feeding,’’ she disclosed.
Damilola told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the vacation period should be a time for children to get closer to their parents and wards, instead of hanging out aimlessly on the streets.
“This vacation period is very delicate because devourers are out there looking for which child they could confuse for their selfish interests.
“This is the period that child traffickers go out en mass to convince young girls and even boys of better life through foreign trips,” she said.
According to Damilola, children should tell their parents about their going out and their coming in.
“It is very important that children share their decisions at every point in time to avoid making a lifetime mistake that may result to destruction.
“Young boys and girls should not respond to promises of foreign trips if it is not a scholarship programme or you have a relative over there.
“These are just tricks to send you to foreign countries and use you for slavery of all kinds. It is very terrible out there,” she said.
Damilola, a native of Ekiti State, described her experience of travelling out as “hellish,” saying it’s an experience that must not happen to any Nigerian child.
“I am sharing my experience because I am lucky to have escaped. So many did not have this opportunity to live and share their ordeal.
“This period of long vacation must not be treated with levity by our parents because of evil perpetrators among us. Please, get closer to your children through any means.
“Do not keep them with people you cannot trust, everyone is a suspect, your children should be your uttermost priority before your work,” she advised.
Damilola appealed to relevant authorities to check any young lady traveling abroad, and to authenticate her mission before she is allowed outside the country, especially during vacations.