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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in conjunction with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) has offered free medical services to 60 victims of human trafficking in Enugu.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi while speaking during the Victims Assistant/Medical outreach support for victims of human trafficking (VOTs) of the Niger-Nigeria Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Project held in Enugu on Thursday, expressed worry over illegal operation of orphanage homes in South East.
She said ‘This case is very rampant in this part of the country. The agency has been working so hard to ensure that this is nipped in the bud. We have agents that go around to seek out such orphanages because they just pretend that they are helping but what they are actually doing is human trafficking, sale of babies.’
The project, Strengthening Niger-Niger Cooperation on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings is funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and implemented by International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and its counterpart, the Nigerien National Agency for the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Trafficking of Migrants (ANLTP/TIM).
Represented by Angela Agbayekhai, Director of Counseling and Rehabilitation NAPTIP Abuja, She said the price of a male baby is always higher than that of a female noting that “they sell baby between N500,000 to N1 million.
‘But we’ve had so many success stories actually, in curbing this kind of cartel and ensuring that they are put into the prison and the victims taken away and rehabilitated and their children given back to them,’ she said.
On the medical outreach, Prof Waziri-Azi said ‘We are here today for one of the most beautiful programs we’ve had in the agency of recent. This program is reaching out medically to victims who have gone through human trafficking and give for a test.
“The agency feels that even though they have returned, they still need to be taken care of medically. You understand and agree with me that the crime of human trafficking is a crime.
“These victims come back with so much mental illness, so much diseases, so much traumas, so much negative things because of what they have gone through and so this program has been put together in collaboration with ICM PD, to ensure that the medical history of these children and victims are looked into to find a way of addressing those areas that we have challenges in so that they can become better citizens of our country so that when we reintegrate them after counseling and rehabilitation, through NAPTIP, they will be back into the society better than they even as they left in the first place.
“We are assuming that this program will be able to solve those issues that are hidden after these victims have returned. Because these victims on return, some of them are not able to have medical facilities. And so this is bringing the doctors to their doorstep to offer medical treatment to them, So that if there is any issue that can be addressed medically, it will be addressed and the victim will become a healthier person when we eventually reintegrate them back into the society because we want them to be very healthy.
“We have a lot of victims that have passed through rehabilitation with NAPTIP but this program are in phases. So for this particular phase in Enugu we are looking at 60 victims. We hope to come back to enter again and take another group of victims because of the facilities that they need to be given.
“This is the second phase of this project. We had the first phase in Lagos, Abuja and so the second phase is already kickstarted. We have been to Kano, Kaduna and we are in Enugu today, and we hope to go to Lagos again.
“We’ve had terrible cases where young children are put together in a new house or orphanage home and the traffickers made them to give birth to children. And when these children give birth, the children are taken away from them and given to the highest bidder, we call it baby sales.“
According to her, the crime of human trafficking is clandestine “so it’s hidden and not written on anybody’s face so nobody will come out to tell you I’m into trafficking. So we work with a lot of informants because we cannot do it alone.
‘The agency work with a lot of organizations. I can say that Today we are partnering with ICMP because we do not believe we can do it alone.
She thereby enjoined the general public to always help NAPTIP with information that will lead to arrest of human traffickers adding “ If you see something, say something. If you suspect any awkward movement, report to us so that You we investigate before we carry out any action,” she said
Also speaking, Adeniyi Bakre, Programme Assistant, ICMPD commended NAPTIP and ANLTP for instituting a formal process for bilateral cooperation on issues relating to trafficking in human beings.
He said ‘our profound gratitude goes to the Director General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri – Azi, and Director General of the ANLTP-TIM, Mr. Ousmane Mamane, who are joint-host of this history-making event taking place today at the NAPTIP Office to support 60 victims of human trafficking in Enugu State, Nigeria; for their magnanimity and support for this forward-looking initiative, for all the efforts made in coordinating part of the logistics required to plan this event.
According to Bakre, the Netherlands funded project: Strengthening Niger-Nigeria Cooperation on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings was inspired by a meeting facilitated by ICMPD between NAPTIP of Nigeria and ANLTP/TIM of Niger from 16 to 18 April 2019 in Abuja.