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Countdown to Christmas: NAPTIP Boss Calls For Vigilance Against Traffickers

As the world prepares for the celebration of Christmas and the New Year, the Executive Secretary of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba has called for vigilance amongst Nigerians especially those in the rural areas in order to ward off attempts by traffickers to lure innocent children into slavery.
The Executive Secretary said that traffickers over the years capitalised of celebrations such as Christmas and New Year to recruit new victims under the pretext of trying to help them and their families come out of the pangs of poverty.
In a Statement today in Abuja to mark the Yuletide season, Mrs Jedy-Agba also warned those with criminal intentions to traffic young men and women outside their domain this festive season for slavery to have a rethink as officials of the Agency and other law enforcement Agencies have been empowered to scuttle their plans and bring them to book.
She said, “This season will not be like previous ones when criminals had a field day deceiving innocent and vulnerable citizens with offers of none existing employment opportunities, educational assistance and other bogus benefits to lure them into modern day slavery. Our officers and those of our sister law enforcement agencies have been trained to fish them out and to punish them accordingly”.
The Executive Secretary also warned parents not to be quick in giving out their wards to people including relatives from the urban areas or abroad after the festive period stressing that most of those offers could lead to the enslavement of those children. “Traffickers are no spirits or strangers but close relatives who may not mean well. It takes a close person to convince a vulnerable family to give out their wards for any form of assistance. Parents should therefore, look well before taking decisions concerning their children in this area as any hasty decision could lead to a long lasting life in slavery for the child affected”, she added.
While frowning at the rate of denial of the effects of trafficking and child labour by parents, the Executive Secretary said that parents often rationalize trafficking their children on the grounds that it will give them better opportunities adding, “Unfortunately today, children are forced to work for their families survival”.
She says, “Parents are therefore, advised to have a rethink as these children are often exploited and pass through immense and dehumanizing circumstances once they leave the shores of our homes and the safety of our protection. Experience shows that these children are often sexually and morally abused and end up worse off than they were at home. Some of them are trafficked through the desert and die without reaching their destinations. Others end up not getting the education promised by the traffickers and are of no use to themselves or their families after their ordeal as they are left scarred for life”.
“We must all therefore, remember that our children are our future and do all we can to safeguard their future” she further added.
She however, wished Nigerians well during the festive season.