10th January, 2023
By Joy Odigie
In a first of its kind payment, a human trafficker paid N5 million in judgment fine and compensation to the victim on Tuesday in Benin.
The payment to the victim of human trafficking followed the conviction and sentencing of her trafficker to seven years imprisonment or the payment of N5 million fine by a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba in December 2022.
But the Judge, unlike in the previous similar judgments, had directed that the fine should be paid to the victim and not into government coffers.
This set the stage for the payment to the human trafficking victim who told journalists that she was 16 when she was taken to Libya for prostitution by the trafficker on Tuesday.
Recounting her ordeal, the victim who said she was happy and okay with the payment said, “I was 16 years old and in Senior Secondary School Class 2 when I was trafficked to Libya. I was in Lagos then.
“The trafficker took us to Agbor in Delta and from there to Lagos before we were taken to Libya.
“We were forced into prostitution and were sexually exploited in the more than two years that I stayed in Libya. I was deflowered through rape and I did series of abortions in Libya.
“I was rescued and returned to Nigeria in 2018 by the International Organisation for Migration.
“I was traumatised and I wanted justice so I reported the trafficker to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
“I commend NAPTIP for helping me to fight this case,’’ the survivor said on condition of anonymity.
She said she would use the N5 million to further her education in Nursing and to set up a business.
The Benin Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, told newsmen in Benin on Tuesday that the agency filed the suit against the trafficker in 2019.
Nwanwenne also confirmed that it was a landmark achievement as it was the first time that a survivor of human trafficking was paid N5 million in compensation.
He commended the doggedness and zeal of the survivor in spite of her traumatic experience.
“She reported the trafficker to NAPTIP by herself. NAPTIP filed the suit and prosecuted it diligently.
“The trafficker has paid the money and it is the first time the court has awarded this type of compensation to a survivor.
“The fine usually goes to the government, but this time it is going to the survivor. It is a landmark achievement,’’ he stressed.
He said also that the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, had approved that the survivor be made a NAPTIP ambassador.
Nwanwenne added that NAPTIP secured 80 convictions in 2022, the highest by the agency since its inception in 2004. (NAN)