The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said that poverty remained one of the reasons many Nigerians got trafficked abroad.
The agency also listed ignorance, peer group influence, globalisation and family pressures as other reasons many fall victims of the menace.
The Uyo Zonal Commander of the agency, Nduka Nwawene stated this in an interview with NAN in Calabar, Cross River State, on Thursday.
He, meanwhile, noted that NAPTIP, since 2004, till date, had secured the conviction of more than 500 traffickers and freed over 18,000 victims across the country.
Nwawene spoke as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is being marked today, July 30.
The theme of the annual event for 2020 is “Committed to the cause, working on the front line to end human trafficking.” It focuses on the efforts of first responders to the issue of trafficking.
According to Nwawene, women and girls constituted over 70 percent of trafficked victims all over the world including Nigeria.
He said, “Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for traffickers and has been very much affected by this malaise, both internally and externally.
“Even during the lockdown, victims who were Europe bound were rescued by first responders and brought to our command.
“People claim they want to travel abroad because of the poverty here, believing that they can pluck gold on the streets of Europe.
“But they are deceived by the traffickers because they are smuggled out and over there, they discover a different scenario and become slaves.
“Other reasons why people get trafficked include ignorance, peer group influence, globalisation and even family pressures.
“If not for NAPTIP and the sister agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police, Ministry of Women Affairs and others, the situation of trafficking in the country would have been more terrible.”
The Uyo NAPTIP Zonal Commander, therefore, urged Nigerians to be vigilant not to fall victims and also to ensure no one would fall victim to the devices of traffickers.
Adding that traffickers always make their victims swear an oath not to tell anyone, Nwawene called on parents to stop mounting pressure on their children to travel out so as to send money back home.
Further nothing that by doing such they endanger their children’s lives, he added, “because of the family pressure, many of them end up as sex slaves in all sorts of dehumansing conditions. If we get any of such parents, they will be prosecuted”.
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