A 23-year-old victim of child trafficking, Falodun Damilola, has advised children on vacation to beware of peer groups and always stick to wise words of their parents at every point in time.
Falodun told newsmen 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 Dami, as she’s popularly called, children should tell their parents about their going out and their coming in.
“It is very important that the children should share their decisions at every point in time to avoid making a life time 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.
Dami, a native of Ekiti State, described her experience of travelling out as “being saved from hell”, which she said 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.
Dami recalled that she traveled to Oman, Nizwa, an Arabian 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 got convinced of their promises because I was helpless and then I gathered my money to travel out thinking changing of environment would be the best option,” she said.
According to her, the agents “advised me that travelling out will be 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 unhealthy peer groups’’.
She said that her luck was a slim opportunity she got to run back home, adding that she became rehabilitated when she got in contact of Princess Ronke, the ambassador to Queen Moremi.
“It took the Grace of God for me to escape; there are several girls out there who would love to come back home, but no one to help them.
“Am grateful to Princess Ronke Ademiluyi who linked me to the Ooni of Ife, who is currently sponsoring my university education in Open University, taking care of my accommodation and feeding,’’ she said.
Dami appealed to relevant authorities to check any young lady going out and authenticate her mission before she could be allowed out especially during vacations.
Newsmen report that schools had commenced their eight weeks vacation period which gave room for children to either travel to visit relatives or stay back for holiday coaching and skill acquisitions.