Only a few offenders have been punished in a thriving trafficking business
More than 300 persons, trafficked in Nigeria’s South-West in 2013, were rescued by government agents, a senior official said Sunday.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, rescued 314 victims of human trafficking in the six states of the region and successfully reunited 297 of them with their families, Joseph Famakin, the South-West Zonal Commander of agency, said.
Eighteen victims had yet to be reunited with their families due to various reasons, Mr. Famakin said.
He said that 179 human trafficking cases were reported in the six states under the zone — Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti – in 2013, while 59 of the cases were under investigation.
He said 16 cases had been forwarded to the legal department of the agency, ahead of a formal criminal charge of offenders, while 12 cases had already been charged to different courts in the six states.
The agency has already secured 16 convictions, while 50 cases are pending in various courts in the six states, he said.
“Thirty-one cases were transferred to sister agencies, including the police and immigration, as well as other zonal commands for investigation and prosecution,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
“Sixteen victims are currently learning various skills from some partners of the agency. Seven victims were empowered during the year with hairdressing and fashion designing equipment, including generator sets.”
The commander said that the agency would strengthen its partners in 2014 to carry out anti-human trafficking messages to the grassroots, while increasing its efficiency in conducting investigations on human trafficking cases.
“We intend using the new Intelligence International Cooperation Unit Centre created at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja to gather information about traffickers from destination countries.
“The victims’ protection mechanism, as witnesses to prosecute offenders, will also be strengthened in 2014,’’ he said.