The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, weekend in Lagos, advised Nigerians especially job seekers to be wary of human traffickers hiding under the guise of securing foreign employment for youths only to turn them into slaves on arrival.
Director-General of the Dame Julie Okah-Donli, speaking at a one-day interactive forum tagged ‘Micro Influencers Dialogue’ with DG NAPTIP, explained that these traffickers used online platform to advertise vacancies for jobs abroad.
She informed that the agency was partnering with law enforcement agents to apprehend those behind what she described as wicked act.
She explained that the forum was aimed among others, to bring all micro influencers together, with a view to creating awareness campaign against human trafficking in their respective traditional and social media platforms.
According to the DG, over 12,000 victims of human trafficking had passed through the agency’s shelters, with 339 persons convicted since its inception in 2003, calling on parents and guardians not to fall prey to several tricks such as promises of a better living condition for their children.
She said: “They (traffickers) usually have answers and solutions to every question or objection one might raise concerning the trip. Thereafter, the trafficker tries to convince parents of his or her good intentions towards their daughter and their entire family, often reiterating the fact that all he/she wants to do is to help them.
Parents are told not to tell anybody about the ‘good fortune’ that is about to happen to their family so people won’t be envious of them. Thereafter, the victim is taken to a shrine and made to swear to an oath of secrecy, pledging that she will not divulge the information to anyone and will pay a specified amount of money to the trafficker.
“A passport is procured for the victim, usually with a fake name before the victim is taken away into slavery and bondage by the trafficker, who might end up selling her to another trafficker.”
The NAPTIP boss further advised parents not to leave their children alone with their domestics workers, particularly drivers, without an adult opposite sex accompanying them to schools, some minors had been abused sexually.
She said that aside sensitising students on the danger of falling victim of human trafficking, the agency would soon establish information boxes in public schools across the country, where people who have information on activities of human traffickers can have access to, with a view to leading to the arrest of the suspect. Such information, according to her, should also include that on any agent who insist on collecting money on behalf of a maid and on any guardian who maltreats house helps
She further informed that special courts had been established to hasten cases of human trafficking, assuring informants that their information would with treated with utmost confidentiality.
At the agency’s shelters, the DG NAPTIP said that victims were empowered educationally or on skills before they are reintegrated into the society. So far, she said some of the victims at the shelters had become graduates while others were undergraduates.