The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it recorded more than 70 cases of human trafficking in Abia in six months.
NAPTIP Coordinator in Abia, Mrs Nkemdirim Okafor, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Umuahia.
She said the 70 cases were recorded between June and December this year when the agency started its operations in the state.
According to Okafor, there are 27 victims whose cases are being handled and six suspects are awaiting trial.
She said the victims were mostly girls and women who were sexually exploited.
There were also cases of sales of babies, incest, labour exploitation and illegal adoption, she pointed out.
Okafor said the suspects have been moved to the agency’s Enugu Zonal Command for prosecution since the Abia office has no detention facility at the moment.
She decried the high incidence of human trafficking in the state, describing Abia as an “endemic and transit state.”
She said that the incidence of sale of babies was particularly high in Abia, especially in Aba, the state’s commercial nerve centre.
Okafor said the agency received a report on children between the ages of 12 years and 13 years being nurtured for the purpose of bearing children that would eventually be sold.
She said the command was following up on all the cases to ensure that human trafficking was curbed in Abia.
“We have been very busy doing our sensitisation, making sure that people know that NAPTIP is in Abia.
“However, we have lack of accommodation as our major challenge as we are currently operating from an event centre.
“We are praying that the Abia State Government will help us with space to accommodate our victims, suspects and staff,” Okafor said.