World Day Against Trafficking is marked annually on the 30th of July to make people aware of those who are being trafficked and taken away without consent. The day aims to educate people that trafficking in persons is considered to be a crime, including the exploitation of women and children for tragic jobs of forced labor and sex.
In a chat with Royal Times over the weekend, the Commander, Kwara State Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)-Mr. Sadu Ajara, said that the purpose of the day is to evaluate efforts by countries, organizations, relevant bodies in the fight against human trafficking.
“30th of July every year has been set aside by the United Nations since 2013 as the day to mark the world day against human trafficking. The purpose of the day is to evaluate efforts by countries, organizations, and bodies in the fight against human trafficking” said Mr. Ajara
According to NAPTIP State Commander, the agency has secured not less than five hundred and thirty convictions on different cases of human trafficking and about twenty thousand victims of human trafficking have been rescued so far in Nigeria.
Ajara added that the agency works with security agencies and other organizations the arrest perpetrators of illicit acts and rehabilitation of victims in the country.
Victims of the illicit act, who narrowly escaped the paws of death, shared painful stories of their experience in the erstwhile place that should be greener and a haven.
The victims spoke anonymously with all of them speaking ill of their experiences in the quest for a better life outside Nigeria.
“This guy saw how everything was going with my family and offered me a chance to travel out of the country. I asked him what I would be doing over there, and he said I would just wash gold and make good money. I was happy, I wouldn’t lie. When we got there everything changed and I had no choice but to comply because I was not hearing their language, that is, French. The madam was even telling me that if I do not do the job, she might end up killing me and stuffs like that. She started threatening me.
The madam said she bought me for five hundred thousand naira and I have to repay with the sum of One Point Five Million Naira. She also said I have to prostitute to make money to build the shanty where we live”, said the victim who was trafficked to Burkina Faso for prostitution.
Another respondents that escaped from torture in Libya said: “I see war for prison, the prison looks like a cage. They would only throw in bread and whoever is lucky to get it would get it. Some people would not even get bread for two weeks or more. A lot of us have a serious gun injury”.
“My elder brother threatens to sell me off if I refuse to work. I initially worked with three bosses without pay, before he took me to another person, we were robbed while working with the new boss and we were later arrested and imprisoned before I returned to Nigeria” said Shella Sylva (not real name).
Meanwhile, despite testimonies of people, a 2021 survey says more than seven in ten Nigerians would relocate abroad not minding the cost and the challenges it may pose if they have the means.
“In this country having the opportunity to travel out is a mighty opportunity”
“Things are not just working, so if I had the opportunity I would just move out with my family”
“If not for everything at least to see how things are going over there so I can be able to compare both”
“There are many opportunities out there than in this country”.
“I am going to leave because there is no hope of becoming a footballer in this country”, statements from respondents who spoke anonymously.
However, NAPTIP says culprits of the crime may spend the rest of their life in prison if found wanting but added that their office is open to attend to cases of trafficking in persons with a toll-free number 627 dedicated for the purposes.
“Currently, we have our offices at the ministry of human affairs, the juvenile welfare center at Oko Erin, that’s where our office is for now. Then you can use a toll-free number 627 to report any case of human trafficking. Then in Ilorin here we have a number you can call if you have any case on human trafficking 0703 500 4717”