It is a shocking tale that grips your mind and abandons it to the staleness of grief. Yet,as a reader you still possess the thirst to persevere with these pin-tips of trafficking, sex slavery and obliteration of human life because the authors’ virtuosity limits you to send the book back to its shelf.
Abidemi Sanusi explores the life of a ten year old girl, Eyo, trapped in prepubescent agony and sorrowful torments of a pedophile. Eyo is introduced to underage wrongful sexual acts by her father. He sleeps with her and indulges his other sexual fantasies using her as his toy. He additionally blackmails her stating that should she fail to cooperate then he will use her sister Sade instead to satisfy himself. Eyo’s mother is voiceless and does nothing in the face of this barbarism forcing one to question her position whether it is a sheaf of weakness or the void of choice. Eyo’s father later decides to have her trafficked to the United Kingdom. She is still ten years old when she travels with her uncle Femi who takes her to London with forged documents. She is taken in as a house help and nanny by Sam’s family. Lola, Sam’s wife, is ruthless from the onset. She works Eyo to her bones and gives her little food. Sam’s son is a bully and reports Eyo especially when she attempts to learn English. As if the daily workload is not enough, Lola brings in five children belonging to her friends for Eyo to baby sit. Her family is supposed to receive money for the work she does but gets none.
Eyo’s previous troubles seem minor when Sam decides to abuse her sexually, reminding her of the brutality she underwent with her father. When she tries to resist she is beaten to a pulp. The family neighbor suspects that the quiet girl is being ill treated but has no proof to report to the social services. Sam further decides to sell Eyo to his friends for sexual services. Eyo is expected to prostitute herself to the men, perform her daily required duties with Lola’s mistreatment and still sleep with Sam every night. The neighbor cannot take it anymore and pesters the social services to come and check on the situation. By the time the social services come, Eyo has gone through a miscarriage and Sam has already sold her to Big Madam. Big Madam owns a brothel and Eyo is expected to prostitute herself further. She soon becomes a favorite among Big Madam’s clients. By this time Eyo has learnt to separate herself from her feelings and operate mechanically. She does what she is told to and knows how the men like ‘it’. Eyo tries to escape twice and the third time Big Madam gives her to Johnny, a street pimp.
Eyo still proves to be difficult. She sometimes cooperates but other times decide to hurt her clients. Johnny punishes her but is in contrast a gentle lover to her at times. She still has to hawk sex in the streets and does acknowledge her real name, rather going by Jungle. The cycle continues, street prostitution, getting hurt by Johnny and getting loved by Johnny. It almost seems as if she likes it.
One day Johnny finds a wad of bills hidden in the apartment and goes berserk. He makes ‘Jungle’ take heroin then has her acting pornography with two men and a dog. He later apologizes to her still saying that he loves her. At nighttime when Johnny is asleep, Jungle gets a bat and hits him mightily on the head then runs away. She goes to a priest and a sister who have been preaching to the hookers on the street. The parish house is a safe haven for a while until she decides to go back home. She refuses to press charges against any of the people who have mistreated her.
Back in Nigeria, home, her sister and mother are at first happy to see her. Her mother apparently chased her father away but they are still living in poverty. The mother is however unhappy that Eyo did not make it big in the United Kingdom like others and that sets back Eyo wondering whether she was better off being maltreated in the UK than not having her mother appreciate her at ‘home’.