Published On: Wed, Nov 28th, 2012

NAPTIP Bursts Trans-Saharan Sex, Slave Trade Ring, Arrests Awka Native Doctor


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*rescues escapee minor from Libya
*says 20,000 Nigerian sex workers roam Italian streets daily
*stakeholders canvass severe punishment for culprits

The Executive Secretary of the National Agency for Prohibition of
Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters (NAPTIP) Mrs Beatrice
Jeddy-Agba has in her avowed effort to fight human Trafficking and
child labour to a standstill taken the public enlightenment of the
scourge to the grassroots communities and groups in Anambra, one of
the states worst hit by the menace.

Speaking at a one-day sensitization workshop at the Onitsha North
council secretariat yesterday, the agency’s South East-Enugu zonal
commander, Mrs Nkiruka Michael disclosed that a Herculean but
successful rescue of a17year old girl, names withheld, from Awka the
Anambra state capital has led to the bursting of a closely-knitted
trans Saharan sex, slave and human trafficking ring.

Also, that an Awka-based native doctor and some other accomplices have
also been arrested for their roles and membership of the alleged
highly lucrative international cross border business.

Police, Immigration, the State Security Service and other
agencies/organizations have already mounted an intensive manhunt for
the alleged female leader and chief executive of the syndicate along
with her overseas based accomplices.

In her 14-page presentation, Mrs Michael noted that records and
research show that about twenty thousand 20,000 Nigerian girls engage
in commercial sex work in Italy, with 3000 in the city of Turin alone.
That most of them were from Edo, Delta and some other
South-South/South-East states. She also pointed out that report by
TAMPEP, an Italian based non-governmental organization stated that
about 60% of street prostitutes in Italy were Nigerians, while about
13,000 were stranded in Libya.

She noted that 776 victims of trafficking from various parts of the
country were rescued and returned between 2003 and 2007, but that the
scourge has been on the increase as the culprits have continued to
develop new and innovative methods of recruiting victims.

Described as one of the most important contemporary global issues, the
worsening economic situation in most families, greed/ignorance of
victims/families, lack of education, loss of moral/ethical values,
corruption by officials, gender discrimination, ever growing sex
industry and high demand of trafficked persons in Europe/Americas as
well as the high demand for human organ transplant overseas amongst
other reasons have been listed as causes for the increasing scourge
despite the stiff fight by concerned international agencies and
governments. She threrfore warned parents and minders to desist from
sending out minors on errands unaccompanied as some of the traffickers
abduct, entice and lure children away on the streets, at churches,
weddings or any major event or gatherings where parents least expects
such.

On the rescue of the 17 year old girl, Mrs Michael said they are still
investigating the matter and some of the ring leaders, Madame
Ebubechukwu and her husband were still being hunted.

NAPTIP boss disclosed that it has been revealed that middle aged woman
reportedly uses direct, indirect, subtle, often forceful and
unconventional means to recruit young under-aged girls with promise to
provide lucrative jobs and education overseas, to them. That suspect
said to be from Anambra, but married to an Imo man comes twice
annually, in August and December to recruit.

Her last August expedition which has now turned awry involved 15
underaged girls, most of whom were mere street hawkers who were lured
away by their mates and peers, while others were forcefully abducted
and shipped from Awka to Kano, then to Niger Republic and then to
Libya. That a man rescued the 17 year old who was fingered earlier by
the suspects as ‘troublesome’.

The native doctor, in his fifties, was reported to be the chief priest
who always administer oath of allegiance and absolute submissiveness
to the syndicate on new recruits before setting sail.

The Anambra state Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA),
Obi Enemuo lamented the damage the trafficking in persons was doing to
the image of the nation. Speaking through his Head of Resaerch,
Ikechukwu Okpala, the NOA boss urged parents to keep close eyes
constantly on their wards, irrespective of where and who they were
with. He also want the nation’s embassies to step up contacts with
every Nigerian in their countries of domicile, so as to monitor their
developments and challenges.

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