Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Person (NAPTIP) Julie Okah-Donli, has disclosed that no fewer than 10,685 trafficked victims to European countries have been rescued by the Agency between 2003 and 2017, while declaring war on human trafficking.
The Director General disclosed this in Benin City, during the visit of President of Italian Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, and said the agency had also secured the conviction of about 322 traffickers within the period.
She however, said after rehabilitation by the agency, some of the rescued victims have become universities graduates while others have become employers of labour.
According to her, “Italian government has been supporting Nigeria’s counter trafficking initiative in the area of provision of financial and empowerment assistance to vulnerable and rescued trafficked person in Edo state. We also seek assistance in the rehabilitation of many victims including 115 recently repatriated from Europe as they need empowerment tools”.
Jullie reiterated that one of the major challenges of the agency was its inability to arrest and prosecute the cartel who remain in Europe and mastermind the trafficking of young persons abroad for exploitative purposes.
While calling on Boldrini to use her office to galvanise support from Italy to assist trafficked persons to avoid being re-trafficked, she called on Nigeria to support NAPTIP to rid the country of the menace of trafficking in persons.
Also speaking, Boldrini said constant enlightenment programme should be carried out by various arms of governments to sensitise the public about the inherent dangers of human trafficking across the country.
She said those who are nursing the idea of traveling to Europe countries should know that it is not all rosy over there, and they should look inwards and find something to do in their countries.
Boldrini noted that â€œthe victims of human trafficking need our love and care and should not be stigmatisedâ€, pointing out that everyone is duty bind to show them love and care for quick rehabilitation back into the society.
“No stigmatization against the women, no stigmatization against the girls. We have the moral duty and the legal possibility to help them, give them the chance and the moment we do so, and I will like to implement a closer cooperation with the local authorities, the government of this state,
â€œNigeria and us because this phenomenon of trafficking, is affecting this state, is affecting Nigeria, is affecting Europe, is affecting Italy, is affecting humanity and we cannot accept it not again without reacting and implementing processes which are entirely for those women and girls who are forced by necessities to accept whatever they do not want to accept”, she said.
She commended the state government for creating the enabling environment for women in the state to learn skills, adding that on her part, she would do all in her power to support NAPTIP.
Two of the victims of human trafficking who were between the ages of 21 and 18 who spoke during the visit, under anonymities said their traffickers told them that they were going to Germany with the promises of getting better jobs but that they were surprised to have found themselves in Italy before they were deported to Nigeria. They said they were forced to swear to an oath which they said was for their protections.