NATION

Drugged, Abducted, Sold For Sex: ‘My 10 Days In Hell’

Badly bruised and weak Mereseini Nabou, 19, yesterday recalled what she described as ‘my 10 days in hell.’
12 Mar 2020 11:27
Drugged, Abducted, Sold For Sex: ‘My 10 Days In Hell’
Mereseini Nabou with her mother, Nanise Baba at her uncle's home in Lami on March 11, 2020 . Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Badly bruised and weak Mereseini Nabou, 19, yesterday recalled what she described as ‘my 10 days in hell.’

During that time, she claimed that she was drugged, abducted, tortured and sold for sex.

“This was the worst experience of my life. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of my mother, otherwise I would have given up,” Ms Nabou said.

She alleged that on February 26 she was given a spiked drink by a woman at a bus stop in Vatuwaqa close to the Police post.

The bus stop at Fletcher Road, Vatuwaqa, where Mereseini Nabou alleged she met her captors, is near the Police Community Post. Photos: Ronald Kumar

The bus stop at Fletcher Road, Vatuwaqa, where Mereseini Nabou alleged she met her captors, is near the Police Community Post. Photos: Ronald Kumar

She passed out and later woke up in an isolated tin shack in a rural district near Nausori.

This is the road leading to where Mereseini Nabou claims she was held captive. Photo: Ronald Kumar

This is the road leading to where Mereseini Nabou claims she was held captive. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Her alleged captors were a woman in her 40s called ‘Aunty Lani’ and a transgender person in his 50s called ‘Gigi’.

Ms Nabou claimed Aunty Lani called Gigi to beat her up.

“They tortured me by slashing my back and arms with a razor blade, punched me below the ribs and they were aiming at the spot, which was operated on in 2018 due to an appendix pain.

“There were three girls with me. They looked a lot younger than me. One of them called Lewa told me how she was abducted from the Nausori Bus Stand two months ago.

“She was waiting for a bus when Gigi went to sit beside her and started chatting her up. She said he told her he knew her mother and she had asked him to check on her. Her mother was away overseas, and she lived with her grandmother, father and a younger sibling. She said Gigi offered her a drink similar to what happened to me. She later woke up at the tin shack.”

Ms Nabou said after she woke up at the shed on the day she was abducted, her captors took all her belongings including the clothes she was wearing.

“They made me change into other clothes. We were fed leftovers and stale food, which was laced with some kind of chemical so whenever we ate, we would immediately feel dizzy and weak,” Ms Nabou claimed.

“There was no electricity in the house, only a kerosene lamp. It was just a small space. We slept where we sat and there were no beddings. It was cold.

“There was a pit toilet as part of the house, which emptied into a swamp.

“They would lock us in from the outside when they went out. They lived somewhere else.”

She remembered that each day the two captors would visit them early in the morning before sunrise or late at night so they would not be seen, Ms Nabou recalled.

“Aunty Lani’s job was to call businessmen and arrange for us to meet them and do what they wanted. So, whenever there was a client Gigi would bring us clothes to wear and drive us to the location in a black four-wheel drive,” she alleged.

She recalled that they were taken to meet clients in Vatuwaqa, Valelevu and Kinoya among other places.

“In Vatuwaqa, I was taken to meet a client. I refused to have sex with him. He complained to Gigi and later in the car on the way back to the tin shack I was roughed up. After we got back, they slashed my back and arms with razor blades. I was warned to do what they wanted if I wanted to live.”

Scars on Mereseini Nabou’s back. Photo: Wati Talebula

Scars on Mereseini Nabou’s back. Photo: Wati Talebula

Three days after Ms Nabou was abducted, she said two of the three girls who were held captive with her decided to escape.

“On that day around evening time after Aunty Lani and Gigi had left the house, the two girls decided to escape through a small gap above the window. They told me to go with them, but I felt sorry for Lewa because Gigi had slashed both her feet with a razor blade and she could not walk so I decided to stay with her.”

“We thought the two girls would go and get help for us, but they did not.”

She said after the girls escaped, they were tortured.

“We were beaten mercilessly with the use of a rolling pin. When that ended, they punched us and asked whether we wanted to live or die.

“I was helpless I could not do anything. All I could feel was this excruciating pain all over my body.

“Last Saturday, we were taken to see a client in Kinoya. The client was not there but sent a taxi to pick us up.

“When we got into the taxi, we told the driver what had happened. He looked like a religious man and offered to help us. We asked him to take us to a Police station.”

Now recovering in her uncle’s home in Lami, Ms Nabou has lost all appetite and can barely sit down or lie on her back due to the bruises she sustained.

Mereseini Nabou can only relate her story lying down on her bed while her mother, Nanise Baba, looks on.She is unable to sleep on her back that is covered with scars.Photos: Ronald Kumar

Mereseini Nabou can only relate her story lying down on her bed while her mother, Nanise Baba, looks on.She is unable to sleep on her back that is covered with scars. Photos: Ronald Kumar

“She has been having nightmares. She wakes up in the middle of the night and cries out in pain,” her mother, Nanise Baba, 38, said.

Ms Baba clarified that she had not lodged a missing person’s report because her daughter was staying with an uncle in Suva when the alleged incident happened.

She said on previous occasions her daughter had stayed over at friends’ places for days and would eventually return home.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said investigations were continuing.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Co-ordinator Shamima Ali said such cases had been happening, but were never taken seriously.

“I really think that we need to look at this because it is so dangerous for women and girls and they are vulnerable. So, when these cases come, Police must put in all their energy and skills and have good officers investigating these kinds of cases,” Ms Ali said.

“Sometimes when girls go missing, they do go to their friends or relatives place and they are found, but when they have gone missing and never to be seen then our antenna should go up and it is everyone’s business particularly law enforcement that these girls are found.

“Often the attitude is that ‘it is only these females or these naughty girls who go off and people trivialise the cases when it’s girls’. I really think that we all have to work together.”

Read Part 1: https://fijisun.com.fj/?p=500472

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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