By Tordue Salem
The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora has begun the process to repatriate about 10,000 Nigerian teenage girls held captive by the sex-slave trade in Libya and Morocco.
The 10,000 girls aged between 13 and 17 are said to be from the southern part of the country and mostly from Edo State.
Chairman of the committee, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (AC, Ikorodu/Lagos), said this at an interactive session with a non-government organisation (NGO), Christ Without Borders.
The group had shown concern over the predicament of Nigerian girls in those countries, where the Diaspora Committee chairman said her committee would work closely with the National Agency Against Prostitution Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), to return the trapped girls in those countries.
She said the committee would also stage an aggressive campaign to educate parents and girls on the dangers of prostitution.
â€œWe are going to be working with you and the committee will try to tackle this matter. We are going to sensitise people in the states. And, since most of these girls are from Edo State, we will meet with the governor to work out ways of putting this worrisome problem to rest,” Dabiri-Erewa assured.
The Coordinator of the NGO, Mr. Taye Garrick, had told the committee that the were taken as sex slaves from Nigeria en route to Europe before they were trapped in Morocco and Libya.
He said some of the girls are pregnant and infected with various diseases including HIV/AIDS and had been sent to jail in the two countries while others are now at the mercy of their slave masters who manhandle them.
According to the coordinator, â€œthese girls were on their way to Europe en route Morocco and Libya but got trapped in these countries.
”Our investigations revealed that these girls who were bought from Nigeria have been making efforts to escape from their sex masters but they are in bondage.”
â€œThere are estimated to be about 10,000 and are between the ages of 13 and 17. Some are being held in jail, some are housed by Nigerians in these countries and used as articles of sex and are mostly from the southern states with Edo State having the highest percentage among them.
â€œWe intend to go with the committee to these countries so that we could identify these girls and help return them home,â€ he stressed.
Garrick also told the committee that the Libyan and Moroccan authorities were fed up with the presence of the girls who had constituted nuisance to their countries, lamenting that the girls are living at a high risk as they could be eliminated or subjected to different inhuman treatment by the host nations.