By Chioma Onuegbu- Uyo
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Uyo Zonal command, has rescued no fewer than 132 victims of human trafficking in Akwa Ibom State in the last eight months.
Director-General of the agency, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, made the disclosure while fielding questions from newsmen on Thursday, during her official visit to the state.
Okah-Donli noted that out of the number 40 were rescued from sexual exploitation, 28 from baby sellers, 23 from labour exploitations, adding that 40 per cent of the victims were from Oron Local government of the state.
Her words, “Since 2020, NAPTIP in Akwa Ibom state has rescued 132 human trafficking victims. 40 of them were rescued from sexual exploitation, 28 were from baby sellers,23 from labour exploitation while the rest were for other sundry exploitation issues.
“Those rescued ranges from 05-34 years. The record shows that 40per cent of them were from Oron Local government because of the strategic trade Location at the gateway to the Atlantic ocean”.
The DG who explained that she was in the State to inaugurate Akwa Ibom state Task Force on Human trafficking and also to meet with stakeholders including traditional rulers, faith-based Organisations, civil society organizations as well as non-state actors in the fight against human trafficking.
She further explained that the Task Force is a component of the agency’s strategic Thrust aimed at expanding its frontiers and enhance robust partnership in the fight against human trafficking in the country.
“The overall objective of the task force is the coordination and reactivation of technical inter-agency cooperation meetings with key stakeholders including donors, development partners, law enforcement agencies, Ministries,
Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Non-Governmental Organization to enhance the capacities of state and non-state actors as well as multi-sectoral response towards improving partnerships
“These partnerships are aimed at the prevention of human trafficking, protection of victims of human trafficking, offer access to justice for victims of trafficking, prosecution of traffickers and to enhance the process of successful restoration of victims of trafficking to the state of physical, psychological, social, vocational and economic well being.”, She added.
Similarly, the Project Officer, Counter-Trafficking, and Mixed Migration in the International Organisation for Migration, Bertha Ngurulu, said the organization has rescued more than seventeen thousand (17,000) Nigerians involved in illegal migration in Libya, Mali and other parts of the world since 2017.
Ngurulu said that over 6,771 of them have so far been rehabilitated with 45 of them from Akwa Ibom while there have been requests from different parts of the Middle East for the repatriation of 550 Nigerians.