The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said that it has rescued more than 18,000 victims and convicted 500 human traffickers since 2004.
This was disclosed by Nduka Nwawene, the Uyo zonal commander of the agency, while speaking during the commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
The event which is celebrated every July 30 had its theme for this year’s edition titled “Committed to the Cause, Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking”.
“Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for traffickers and has been very much affected by this malaise, both internally and externally,” he said.
“Even during the lockdown, victims who were Europe-bound were rescued by first responders and brought to our command.
“People claim they want to travel abroad because of the poverty here, believing that they can pluck gold on the streets of Europe.
“But they are deceived by the traffickers because they are smuggled out and over there, they discover a different scenario and become slaves.
“Other reasons why people get trafficked include ignorance, peer group influence, globalisation and even family pressure.
“If not for NAPTIP and sister agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police, ministry of women affairs, and others, the situation of trafficking in the country would have been more terrible.”
He revealed that part of the tactics used by traffickers is to take their victims to shrine to swear an oath not to tell anybody about the mission.
“Parents must also stop mounting pressure on their children to travel out and endanger their lives so as to send money back home,” he said.
“Because of the family pressure, many of them end up as sex slaves in all sorts of dehumansing conditions. If we get any of such parents, they will be prosecuted.”
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