Rescues 18,000 victims; secures 516 convictions

By Evelyn Usman

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons NAPTIP has disclosed that over 20,000 Nigerians youths were trapped in shanties in mining areas in Mali, where they were sexually exploited.

This is just as it has been disclosed that a total of 18,000 victims of human trafficking have been rescued, out of which 13 were sponsored to the university by the agency.
Besides it further revealed that it had secured at least 516 convictions since it came into existence.

This disclosure was made yesterday, in Asaba, Delta State capital, by NAPTIP’s Director, Public Enlightenment, Josiah Emerole, at a three-day training implemented by the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies FIIAPP and funded by the European Union.

Emerole who declared the three-day training on Standard Reporting Template, on behalf of the Director-General, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, open, decried the inhuman treatment Nigerian youths who were deceived with juicy employments, were going through, even in African countries.

He said: “Nigeria continues to experience high and external migration due to huge population, economic climate, poverty and porous borders.

“In Mali alone, no fewer than 20,000 young Nigerian men and women are trapped, living in shanties in the mining areas where they are sexually exploited.

“Many victims are still stranded in a number of West African countries as they cannot move further to Europe and are living in dangerous conditions.

“Most of these trafficked persons engage in prostitution for a fee equivalent to N150 which would be collected by those who trafficked them there,” he said.

While giving an overview of human trafficking in the country, he said “before NAPTIP came, nobody was jailed because of trafficking but we have about 516 persons convinced of trafficking. Just on Friday, somebody was convicted.

“Convictions are coming both within and outside Nigeria. Before now, foreign countries were not calling us to help in investigations. But now, for them to investigate someone who has committed crimes abroad, they will get in contact will NAPTIP and the agency will do its own investigation here and share Information. People have also been hailed abroad.

“Before now, victims were just seen as unlucky fellows who were caught in something they found themselves. But with NAPTIP coming, close to 18,000 victims of trafficking have been rescued, rehabilitated, and made to become better citizens. Right now, about 13 victims have become graduates of universities through the sponsorship of NAPTIP, and out of all of these people, three of them are working for NAPTIP”.

Earlier in his welcome remark, Senior budget officer, Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria, A-TIPSOM, Joseph Sanwo, explained that the training was implemented by FIIAP, a Spanish government foundation and funded by the European Union, with a view to reducing trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in Nigeria.

He disclosed that only four agencies in Nigeria: NAPTIP, the Police, Nigeria Immigration, and the Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuses, and Labour, an umbrella body for civil organisation societies on human trafficking benefited from the gesture.
The training according to him was the second in the series for journalists, even as he expressed optimism that it would enhance participants’ reportage on human trafficking.

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