…as NAPTIP rescues 17,000 human trafficking victims
By Evelyn Usman
Seven out of the 26 pregnant girls that were recently rescued from some baby factories in Lagos, are due for delivery.
Twenty-two others, whose pregnancies are between four and eight months, are presently undergoing antenatal care at the shelter of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, NAPTIP.
This is just as the NAPTIP said it had rescued 17,000 victims of human trafficking, across the country in 16 years, with a charge to airlines operators to intensify surveillance on their route, by looking out for victims of the worrisome trend.
Addressing journalists during a two-day capacity building workshop for stakeholders in the aviation sector, titled ‘ Identification, detection and reporting of human trafficking cases’ in Lagos, yesterday, the Director-General, NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed that while the agency was doing all it could to ensure that the rescued pregnant girls got adequate medical care, it was also making effort to bring the fleeing ring leader of the baby factory to book.
She said, “ Seven of those girls will be having their babies any minute from now. They are in NAPTIP shelter. Out of the 26 girls that were given to us, 22 were pregnant between four to eight months and right now we’re taking care of them, feeding them, they are having their antenatal care. After their babies are born we’ll know the right steps to take but right now we are interested in making sure they are healthy and have their babies safely, while we go after the traffickers.
“ There is a woman called Madam Oluchi Eze, the major kingpin, who is on the run and but her two accomplices right are in custody. I am using this opportunity to call on Madam Oluchi Eze, or anyone who has any useful information on her to report to NAPTIP so she can be arrested accordingly”.
She also disclosed that within 16 years. The agency had rescued 17,000 victims of human trafficking, adding that 404 human traffickers had been convicted within the period.
The rescued human trafficking victims according to her, had undergone counselling, adding that most of them had been empowered in different skills. Those trained from primary school to the University level, she said, were employed by the agency.
The NAPTIP DG also disclosed that the Sex Offenders Register would be formally launched soon. She explained that the concept was aimed at naming and shaming of sex offenders in Nigeria.
She said, “The idea is to name and shame sex offenders and also to share their information with very critical sectors. For example we don’t want paedophile working in a school where we have little girls. We don’t want a paedophile to work as a counsellor where you have victims who are traumatized. So, the idea is to have this register and share it so that when they are looking for jobs they would not be taken in sensitive jobs that require extra caution”.
She explained that the two-day workshop was to strengthen the capacity of state and non-state institutions to assist, support and protect victims of human trafficking in Nigeria, noting that the agency’s resolve to end it remained was firm, as it would continue to engage with various actors across the board to achieve its desire.
In her remark, the Project Coordinator of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Ms Harsheth Virk, commended NAPTIP for what she described as a job well done towards bringing activities of human traffickers to the barest minimal in the country.
Noting that air transportation was one major means used for trafficking in human, she called on stakeholders to collaborate with NAPTIP in ending the scourge.