4th July, 2011
Nigeria is now recording fewer cases of human trafficking since the beginning of the war in Libya.
Investigations revealed that those who transport their victims via Sokoto, northwest Nigeria through Niger Republic to Libya and from there cross over to Europe, have not been finding it easy because of the ongoing Libyan war.
Sokoto has been the major route of traffickers who use the porous border between the state and Niger Republic to carry out their nefarious business of exporting young Nigerians, especially women, to Europe as sex slaves.
Libya which for years served as the gateway to Europe is now embroiled in war thus making it extremely dangerous for the human traffickers to stay in the country or cross to Europe.
The Zonal Coordinator of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Offences, NAPTIP, Alhaji Shehu Umar, said before the Libyan crisis human traffickers especially those from Edo, Delta, Rivers and some other states in the Southwest of the country used Sokoto as their first transit point while transporting their victims to Libya.
He said since the beginning of the crisis in Libya, number of arrest of such people has reduced drastically in the zone.
He said the zone comprising three states of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara has lowest number of human traffickers but has a higher number of arrest and litigation in court on trafficking in persons when compared to other zones of the agency.
Alhaji Shehu said while as at this period last year the zone had rescued over 200 victims of the traffickers, arrested quite a number of the traffickers with most of them standing trial at the federal high court in Sokoto and other states, only 20 traffickers have been arrested and15 victims were rescued.
â€œTheir activities (trafficker) have reduced in this zone because of Libyan crisis. Nobody wants to go there again. Those who were there before the problem have returned home,â€ said Shehu.
He said the internal trafficking is what NAPTIP is curtailing now, adding that children of school age are being transported from other parts of the country to the north for illegal business which include serving as househelps, prostitutes and food vendors.
â€œWe have arrested a number of them and successfully returned the victims to their parents while the suspects are facing charges before the court of law,â€ he said.
By Musa Aliyu/Sokoto