By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA: The Director General, National Agency for Protection and Trafficking in Person, NAPTIP, Mrs. Juli Okah-Donli, has called on the ECOWAS Parliament to tackle the high rate of human trafficking in Africa.
Mrs Okah-Donli made the call at the ECOWAS Parliament while presenting a report of the fact findings mission to Mali on the high incidence of human trafficking and forced prostitution, stating that, over two thousand girls from Nigeria are in forced prostitution in Mali.
She decried the high rate of human trafficking and forced prostitution in Mali which many Nigerian girls have fallen victims to.
Presenting the report during plenary, she stated that, some Nigerian girls were deceived on the guise of going for job opportunities and greener pastures while they were being trafficked for forced prostitution in Mali.
Mrs. Okah-Donli lamented that some of the girls were kidnapped in their school uniforms and forced into prostitution, stressing that conditions of the girls are really harrowing.
She said that, Nigerian girls are trafficked mainly to the mining areas in the south and central parts of Mali, but substantial number is trafficked to rebel-held areas in the North where they become radicalised.
Mrs Okah-Donli urged ECOWAS member states to sign Memorandum of Understanding with Nigeria to assist them carry out sensitization campaigns and repatriation of the girls, not only in Mali but in other member states.
The Parliament therefore deliberated on the issues and seeks ways to nip in the bud the scourge of trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls and stigmatisation across the ECOWAS region.
Contributing to the deliberation, Member of Parliament, Philomena Martins, from Cabo Verde, said signing the Memorandum of Understanding will address the issue of sexual exploitation of girls across the region.
In his submission, Mahama Ayariga from Ghana, stated that, such trend should be nipped in the bud as pockets of such trend are also seen in Ghana.
After exhaustive deliberation on the matter, Speaker of the Parliament who presided over the plenary, ruled that, the NAPTIP submit their fact finding report on Mali to be forwarded to appropriate Committees of the Parliament, for further legislative action.