By Ikhili Monday, 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.
The Director General who disclosed this in Benin during the visit of President of Italian Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, said the agency has also secured the conviction of no fewer than 322 traffickers within the period.
She noted that some of the rescued victims have become universities graduates while other has become employers of labour after rehabilitation by the agency.
“Italian government has been supporting Nigeria’s counter trafficking initiative the 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,” she said.
Jullie reiterated that one of the major challenges of the agency is the inability of the agency to arrest and prosecute the cartel who remains in Europe and mastermind the trafficking of young person’s 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 person.
On her part, President, Italian Chamber of Deputies to NAPTIP, Laura Boldrini said constant enlightenment programme should be carried out by various arms of governments to sensitize 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; therefore, they should look inwards and find something to do in their countries.
Boldrini noted that the victims of human trafficking need our love and care and should not be stigmatized pointing that we are 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, Nigeria 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 on its roles of 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 to our correspondent under anonymities said their traffickers told them that they were going to Germany with the promises of getting a better job but that they were surprised to have found themselves in Italy before they were deported to Nigeria.
They said they were forced to have sworn to an oath which they said was for their protections.
NAPT1P Declares War On Human Trafficking …rescues 10,685, Convicts 322
By Ikhili Monday, Benin City