The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has engaged the services of local witch doctors in Benin, Edo State to curb trafficking in persons.
The state, and in particular its capital city, Benin, is reputed to have the largest cases of human trafficking in Nigeria.
NAPTIP said it has gathered witch doctors in the city and made them ambassadors in fighting the menace.
According to a report by The Punch newspaper, the Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed this at a symposium for the agency’s officials in Abuja on Monday.
“When we gathered these witch doctors recently to sensitise them on what human trafficking victims go through in Europe, they were shocked.
“And they have made their commitments to work with us to fight the menace of human trafficking,” the Okah-Donli said.
Edo indigenes, particularly the women, reportedly started migrating to Italy in the early 1990s for greener pastures and majority were engaged in prostitution. It became a thriving business for them and they started creating cartels all over Europe.
The NAPTIP boss said investigations revealed that some local witch doctors were involved or used in the trafficking of persons to Europe.
She said the agency would involve and sensitise more witch doctors in Edo and other parts of the country and make them NAPTIP ambassadors in fighting human trafficking.
“Once human traffickers get a victim’s consent by force, fraud or coercion, such person would be made to take oath of secrecy/allegiance before a local witch doctor in a shrine.
“Some rituals are performed on the victims, using their urine, pubic hair, fingernails, eye lashes, menstrual blood, underwear and other personal effects.
“Once these rituals are done, it would be seen as a bond between the victims and the traffickers.
“In spite of the rituals and oath-taking, the victim reaches the destination point only to realise the farce behind the sweet promises of a greener pasture.
“And in this circumstance, such person is told in strict terms not to renege on the oath of secrecy, as it cannot be reversed,” the NAPTIP DG said.
Millions of Nigerian young people are vulnerable to human trafficking as a result of insurgency, communal crises, poverty, maltreatment at home, family crisis, and unemployment.
Recently, NAPTIP said it evacuated more than 13, 000 Nigerian migrants from Libya between November 2017 and January 2018.
The migrants narrated their ordeal in the hands of Libyan officials; including rape, torture, and maltreatment/
Devatop Centre for Africa Development (DCAD), a nonprofit organisation with focus on combating human trafficking, estimates that over 27 million women, girls, men, and boys are currently victims of human trafficking across the globe.
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