NAPTIP rescues, rehabilitates 2,000 human trafficking victims

Director General of NAPTIP, Barr Julie Okah-Donli

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has rescued and rehabilitated more than 2,000 victims of human trafficking in 2017, the Director General of the Agency, Julie Okah-Donli has said. 

Speaking at a session with social media micro influencers recently in Abuja, the NAPTIP boss said the Agency has been carrying out rehabilitation and integration of the victim into the society simultaneously. 

She added: “This year, NAPTIP has rescued more than 2,000 victims of human trafficking both within and outside of the country. We carry out rescue, rehabilitation and integration exercises simultaneously so there won’t be any lapse in the process. We have many of them that have become degree holders while some learnt trades and settled afterwards in order to re-integrate back into the society. We also have a number of cases in various courts across the country.”

The NAPTIP boss stressed that the Agency is co-opting social media influencers into its awareness operations because of the power of social media not only to influence behaviour, but provide information on developments within the society. 

She said: “We realises that the victims of human trafficking are youths and women, which underscores the critical space that social media influencers occupy as we increase awareness campaign against human trafficking. We want the social media influencers to take over the Internet space because we know that youths and women follow social media and can easily be kept abreast about development in the country and around the world in a matter of minutes.

We also remember their roles in the Mediterranean saga where we lost quite a number of young girls. So, we are going back to them to help spread the evils inherent in human trafficking and to also expose the tricks that traffickers adopt to lure people into sexual slavery and other forms of servitude.” 

Mrs Okah-Donli faulted the claim that poverty is the major driving factor of human trafficking in Africa and other developing countries, saying, “no I don’t think that poverty is the major driving force. The major driving force is ignorance and lack of knowledge. We have heard cases of people of even offering money as much as N500, 000 to be trafficked. So, where will someone with no money get to pay a trafficker from? They offer to pay because they think that life is rosy and pleasurable abroad, which is not true. The reality dawn on them when they get there and realize the only way for them to survive is sexual slavery.”

She also said trafficking thrives in Nigeria because there is a conspiracy of silence the populace that should volunteer useful and timely information to NAPTIP and other security agencies. 

She said: “The people that should give information are keeping quiet. We now know that the traffickers use Zamfara to go to Libya and other North African countries and we are going to strengthen our zonal office in that zone to ensure the development is nip in the bud.” 

She hinted that non-governmental organisations have been selected to work in susceptible local government councils to strengthen awareness campaign against human trafficking at the local level. 

Meanwhile, NAPTIP has rescued a trafficked disable girl in Plateau states.  

Responding to the rescue mission, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lanlong decried the level of human trafficking in the country especially exploitation of persons with disability saying that concerted efforts must be made to ensure that Nigerians are protected.

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