NAPTIP arrests 120 traffickers, rescues 93 victims in Anambra

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it has arrested over 120 human trafficking suspects since 2021 it started operations in Anambra State.

It said it has also rescued 93 victims of human trafficking within the period under review.

State Commander, Ibadin Judith-Chukwu disclosed this in a chat with newsmen on this year’s International Day against Human Trafficking, an event set aside annually to create awareness about crime and celebrate the counteractions made to dismantle it.

She said out of the 93 rescued victims, 10 of them were males while 83 were females. 

“We rescued 17 victims in 2021 when we came to Anambra. A total of 69 were rescued in 2022 while 7 victims have so far been rescued this year.

“We have received a lot of cases most of which are external trafficking. The victims are still abroad. We have been able to bring back seven victims this year from Burkina Fasso, Ghans and Mali.

“We are working to bring others back. Internally, we have been able to rescue a 4-year and 15-year old children.”

Judith-chukwu added, “In 2021, we arrested 31 suspects (16 males and 15 females) from Anambra, Edo and Ebonyi states.

“In 2022, we arrested 44 male suspects and 36 female suspects giving us a total of 80 suspects from Anambra, Benue, Imo, Rivers, Ebonyi and Akwa Ibom States”.

“This year, we have arrested 16 suspects (11 males and 5 females). They are from Akwa Ibom, Niger and Anambra states”.

The commander urged the public to always rate interest of the victims above other considerations, which, she said is in tandem with the year’s theme, “Reach every victim of human trafficking. Leave no one behind”.

“Our greatest concern as NAPTIP is to ensure that the victims overcome all the negative realities associated with being trafficked. They suffer exploitation and other ill-treatments in the hands of the traffickers.

Expressing regrets that sustained campaign against crime has not yielded anticipated outcome, Judith-Chukwu said, “it is not enough to arrest suspects, try and jail them. What about the victims? There is need to care for them and make sure they get justice. We also need to empower them economically.

“Human trafficking is endemic in Anambra state. The number keeps increasing despite that we are doing in terms of sensitization. The traffickers are stubborn because of the huge money they are making in it. They don’t want to stop, but we are going to stop them”.

Speaking during the road walk at motor parks and markets, two members of Anambra State Task Force on Human Trafficking, encouraged residents to watch out for suspicious movement and break cycle of silence which had hitherto served the interest of the criminals.

“Some of those children who had been messed up by traffickers have psychological problems. When you see any of them, please call us. These are our children. They took them away from village with a promise to take care of them,” Yohanna Rachel said while Hope Okoye urged residents to be watchful against the antics of the traffickers.

“Speak out every time you notice suspicious movements around your parks. Many children have been trafficked from your park here. So, shine your eyes. 

“Our children old and teenage are being trafficked for sexual exploitation, hard labour, organ harvesting and the rest of them. Give us information. Report to NAPTIP or the Ministry of Women Affairs”.

A concerned citizen, Dr Ken Okoli, who was in a group of persons sensitized in the course of the exercise, drew attention of NAPTIP and partners to the army of child labourers found in the nooks and crannies of city centres in the state.

“We encourage what you do. Please, do not relent. A lot of our people do not really understand all you are talking about. But, with sustained sensitization, we will get there. Also pay attention to children who hawk and beg on the streets during school hours.

“If you go around town in these hot zones, where you have prostitution going on, most of them are coming from poverty. What you are doing generally is helping everybody,” Okoli submitted.

NAPTIP, in collaboration with the State Task Force on Human Trafficking organized the road walk to sensitize the populace on the problem of human trafficking which it noted is increasingly assuming a more disturbing dimension in the area.

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