“Many people are very ignorant of things that are going on” | NAPTIP DG, Donli-Okah speaks on human trafficking

The DG of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Donli-Okah, has said that most of the victims of human trafficking are picked up from the rural areas, where they no access to internet and therefore, have not “seen or heard of the horrors of taking such journeys“.

She said this in an interview with Daily Trust published December 29, 2017.

Excerpts:

Many people are very ignorant of things that are going on. Most of the victims are taken from the rural areas, where they do not have access to the internet if they had they would have seen or heard of the horrors of taking such journeys. Even their parents do not have access to the internet. This is partly responsible for the continuous illegal migration.

On the part of the traffickers, there is so much greed because they are making so much money. For them the risk is very low, the demand is high and the profit is extremely high, and they are so greedy and evil-minded.”

She explains that the traffickers also engage in organ harvesting.

It is organ harvesting; simply the sale of organs. There are so many people all over the world who are waiting for a transplant and so are so desperate that they buy these organs on the black market. The destination countries need to start investigating where these organs are coming from, they need to regulate transplant, ask more questions, monitor these transplant in order to ensure that they are not organs of trafficked victims.”

Solutions?

Since I came on board we have embarked on massive awareness campaigns, starting from the grassroots, the communities where these people are taken. This time around we are not only sensitising the girls and boys, we are also sensitising their parents because their parents are ignorant and sometimes even push their children into such activities, they even sell their belongings because they think their children are going to better their lives.

We engage the community leaders like the women leaders, youth leaders, market women associations, and the rest. They, in turn, take the message back to their people, to tell them, look you need to be careful, do not send your children out any longer, if someone promises them good jobs or scholarship, please contact NAPTIP to verify such information. That is what we are going to be doing in all the 36 states including the FCT until everybody hears the messages, we are involving the religious organisations till the news is everywhere.”

Prosecuted traffickers?

So far we have prosecuted about 1000 persons and gotten about 334 convictions. We still have a lot of cases in court, and we hope to get many more convictions. The law gives us the power to confiscate assets and freeze the funds of these human traffickers, so what we are trying to do is while we are doing that here in Nigeria, we expect the destination countries to do same in their countries. When they forfeit their asset, you cripple them economically, the business will no longer be useful or attractive to him.”

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