The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it has taken its campaign against human trafficking and irregular migration to the rural communities of Edo and Delta.
Ms Julie Okah-Donli, the Director-General of the agency, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, described the measure as part of ongoing counter-trafficking strategies.
Recalls that Okah-Donli at the 6th Interpol Global Conference on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling recently held in Abuja said NAPTIP had launched sensitisation programmes in rural communities within the endemic states of the country to curb human trafficking.
“In the first phase of the reloaded awareness creation programme launched recently we embarked on advocacy and sensitisation programme to Edo and Delta.
“Critical stakeholders which included the Chief Judge of Edo, Hon. Justice Esohe Ikpomwosa and the Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, were visited.
“I led officers of the Agency on sensitisation at the crowded Warri Main Market moving from one store to the other talking to market women and other traders on the need to protect their children and wards to avoid being trafficked for sexual or labour exploitation.
“Sections visited by the NAPTIP enlightenment team included the textile, meat section, fresh fish and the provision sections.
“Other villages visited are Mosogar, Ajagbodudu, Koko and Oghala, among others,’’ she stated.
She said the exercise was strategically planned to address issues of human trafficking from the rural perspective.
She said the agency was determined to change the narrative by talking to the vulnerable people on the need to protect themselves, children and wards.
“It is painful to note that these heartless traffickers feed on the vulnerability and ignorance of the people especially those in the far flung rural communities and harvest their children for exploitation.
“This is why we have decided to bring our sensitisation train to these rural areas.
“I am personally leading the campaign because the life of every Nigeria child is so precious to me and the present administration.
“This is going to be a sustained exercise and we shall continue to monitor happenings within these rural communities.
“This is just the beginning of our newly launched grassroots counter trafficking sensitisation programme, aimed at bringing awareness to the door posts of all Nigerians,’’ the NAPTIP boss said.