By Biodun Busari
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has stopped the trafficking of a student of Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri and two other teenagers bound for Greece, Turkey and Mali for commercial sexual exploitation, otherwise known as prostitution.
Also, the federal government’s anti-human trafficking agency said the perpetrators behind the shipping of the victims have been arrested and are currently being prosecuted in competent courts of law.
NAPTIP Commander in Imo State, Ernest Ogbu, revealed this at a one-day security sensitisation programme organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA) in partnership with the International Organisation for Immigration (IOM) against drug abuse, Irregular Migration, Human Trafficking and Cybercrimes, held at Federal College of Education, Alvan Ikoku, Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Ogbu, who lamented the prevalence of human trafficking in the state, said: “In Imo State this year, we have at least 10 cases of human trafficking and one of such cases has been charged to court. Human trafficking is very endemic in the state.”
“We have made some arrests in Imo State, where a young man took two young girls. According to him, his sister who is in Turkey had asked him to arrange some girls who will come over to assist her in her business.
“These children were taken to Abuja, heading to Kano when they raised the alarm that attracted our attention.
“When we started the investigation, we discovered that the man, who recruited them is from Imo State. And we quickly went after him and he was apprehended.
“Also, in the course of the investigation, we discovered that the sister is not even in Turkey but in Mali. We have several of such cases.
“Also we have a student of Imo State University, who was about to be trafficked to Greece. They were preparing travel documents for her without the knowledge and the consent of her parents. We were able to get the information through her friend. We were able to stop such an unplanned journey in collaboration with the officers of the Nigeria Immigration Services.”
He, therefore, cautioned students and young people against what he described as unplanned and irregular travel abroad, stressing that better opportunities still exist in Nigeria.
According to him, “People should know that dollars and pounds are not picked on the streets of Europe. They should be able to engage themselves in reasonable and productive enterprise.
“There are still life changing opportunities in Nigeria and they must not travel. But if they must travel, they should ensure that they are travelling regularly as covered by the requirements of the country where they are going as well, the country where they are leaving.”