23rd January, 2017
No fewer than 80 persons were arrested by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in the year 2016, for human trafficking.
The Benin Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Ebenezer Odita, who disclosed this Monday to journalists in Benin, said 194 victims were also rescued.
He explained that the suspects were arrested at different locations in Edo and Delta States.
The Edo NAPTIP boss further disclosed that the agency secured the conviction of three of the human traffickers, with jail sentences ranging from two to 14 years, while 31 suspects had been charged to court.
According to him, “Some were arrested within Benin as a result of petitions from parents of the victims. Most of them were being trafficked to Europe through different routes.
“Some were brought back from Lagos, Kano and different parts of Nigeria. Conviction takes a lot. But for the period under review, we have convicted three.”
Odita disclosed that most of the victims were teenagers aged 13 and 19 and have all been reunited with their families. He said the Zonal Command rescued over 2,000 victims and convicted 50 persons in Edo and Delta, since its inception in 2004.
He disclosed that many human traffickers had shifted their routes to rural areas due to the heavy security presence in the metropolis. He added that the agency would continue to monitor their movements.
He advised parents and guardians not to be tempted by financial gains to subject their children and wards to inhuman treatments, adding that the current recession should not encourage slavery.
“Parents should stop encouraging their children to be trafficked. They should also be careful and keep an eye on their kids. Recession should not encourage slavery. Recession is everywhere,” he added.