Abdulrasak Dangiri

Paul Obi in Abuja

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Monday said it has secured the conviction of 269 human traffickers in Nigeria from 2003 to date.

Acting Director General, Abdulrasak Dangiri, stated that NAPTIP’s target is not to put Nigerians behind bars for trafficking related offences but to rather prevent Nigerians from being trafficked to other countries.

He stated this at the International Conference on human trafficking within and from Africa organized by Caritas International and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and the Iterant people in Abuja.

The acting DG added that over 2 million women and children are trafficked around the world in various ways, either for sexual or labour exploitation annually.

Represented by Director Public Enlightenment, Orakwue Arinze, he observed that “the mass migration of young Africans risking their lives through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe was a big setback to Nigeria’s collective struggle to address TIP in NAPTIP.”

He said: “Since NAPTIP started, what we have is 269 convictions since 2003. This year alone we have seven convictions. NAPTIP is set to eliminate trafficking in person not to clamp people in jail. Ours is to make sure that Nigerians don’t go. Ours is not to slam Nigerians in jail. If no one is selling

“The mass migration of young Africans risking their lives through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe is a big setback to our collective struggle to address TIP in NAPTIP, but of a greater concern is the fact that our world have not come to accept that different perceptions of the triggers of this scourge militates against a united force to combat it.

“Every year, about 2 million women and children are trafficked around the world in various ways, either for sexual or labour exploitation. Trafficked victims from Nigeria are recruited from rural areas or within the country into involuntary servitude and forced commercial sexual exploitation, street vending, begging etc.”

Also, President of Caritas Nigeria, Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, and Bishop of Umuahia maintained that the huge financial rewards derived from trafficking in humans makes it an attractive and booming business for many individuals and groups who operate well organized syndicates and networks.

He tasked participants at the conference to urgently design a workable road map to eliminate and drastically reduce human trafficking.