The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons on Monday in Lagos handed over two female victims of human trafficking to Edo Government.
NAPTIP Head of Operations in Lagos State, Taiwo Adegboyega, handed over the women on behalf of the Director General, Dame Julie Okah-Donli.
Adegboyega said that the agency was tipped off that two victims trafficked to Russia were on their way to Nigeria with the assistance of an NGO.
Adegboyega said that the agency received the victims from the airport.
He said: “In the cause of debriefing the victims, we discovered that they were trafficked out of the country and were recruited in Edo.
“Syndicate prepared their passports to travel to Russia through Lokoja in Kogi.
“The group moved them from Lokoja to Lagos and kept them in a hotel for days before moving to Ghana by road.
“From Ghana to Russia transiting Turkey. There at Russia, they were exploited sexually by two members of the syndicate group. We gathered that the two end users were Ghanaians. They had been jailed accordingly by Russian government.
“The Nigerians’ recruiters are also in Russia and they are currently on the wanted list by the Russian government. They will soon be arrested and brought to book.”
Adegboyega noted that after debriefing the victims, the Edo government through the task force on human trafficking volunteered to assist in tracing their families and rehabilitating them.
Receiving the victims, the Senior Special Assistant to Edo Governor on Anti-Human Trafficking Issues, Solomon Okoduwa, commended NAPTIP for the fight against human trafficking.
Okoduwa said that the state was committed in the fight against human trafficking in collaboration with all agencies and stakeholders on the matter.
He said about 17 girls had been received by the state in the last one year from Russia, stressing that about 3,800 others were brought from Libya to the state.
He said: “The programme of the governor is much, yet he is not relenting in the fight against human trafficking.
“He set up task force against human trafficking, domesticated the federal law to ensure that traffickers are prosecuted in the state.
“The government of Edo is doing everything possible to ensure that the victims under our watch are taking care of appropriately. We commend NAPTIP and the man that brought our sisters from Russia.”
Kehinde Banwo, a representative of an NGO, Help Services for Nigerians in Russia, who assisted the two girls back to Nigeria, said they knew that NAPTIP alone could not fight traffickers; hence their organisation’s helping hands.
Banwo said the NGO had assisted many Nigerians trafficked for exploitation in Russia, noting that over 2000 girls were trafficked to the country during the last World Cup in Russia.
He said the NGO was currently housing nine of the victims with a view to securing tickets for their return, stressing that many were being used as slaves.
He said: “My NGO focus on assisting Nigerians who are stranded in Russia generally. The focus is on innocent Nigerians who were trafficked for exploitation in Russia. We work together with the Nigerian Embassy and the Russian government.
“It has not been easy, particularly getting funds to take care of the victims and bring them back to Nigeria. In the next few weeks or month, more trafficked Nigerians would be brought back by my NGO.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two victims and the task force director went to Benin City on Monday after the handover through a Benin based Transport Company.