The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, says it has secured convictions of 70 people involved in human trafficking in Edo and Delta since its establishment.
Nduka Nwanwenne, the NAPTIP Zonal Commander in charge of Edo, Delta and Bayelsa, said this at a one-day sensitisation workshop held on Wednesday in Benin.
The workshop was organised for traditional and religious leaders by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM.
Mr Nwanwenne said that the 70 convictions were secured in Edo and Delta, adding that no case had gone to court in Bayelsa.
He said that about 70 cases were still pending at various state high courts within the zonal command.
“More convictions are coming because more and more cases are being reported on a daily basis, as people are now aware of the collaborative effort of IOM and other partners.
“Before, people did not know where to go, especially in the rural communities, which is now the target because within the cities, people are now aware of where to go and report cases,’’ he said.
According to him, today’s event is very positive and proactive, it is important that traditional and religious leaders should be part of the process to end human trafficking and irregular migration.
“Their contributions and intervention would go a long way in stemming the tide of human trafficking and irregular migration.’’
Earlier, Aigbeze Uhimwen, IOM’s Senior Project Assistant, said the meeting was a follow up to the one held in 2019 due to the influence the leaders wielded on their followers.
“The purpose of the meeting is to bring everybody under one platform and see how we can propagate the message of safe migration.
“It is also to condemn the message of human trafficking and irregular migration which has put us in bad light.
“We hope that after this engagement, issues of human trafficking will be brought to the front burner at different levels to devise a solution on how to tackle the menace,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Itohan Okungbowa, Secretary to the Edo State Human Trafficking Agency, said the state government had assisted about 6,000 victims return to the state.
Mr Okungbowa said that more than 3,000 of these victims were paid stipends for three months to help in their reintegration and rehabilitation processes.
She said the females made up 40 per cent, while males made up 60 per cent of the data, adding that the state government had empowered the victims with various vocational skills.
Stakeholders, including Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Muslim community at the meeting, unanimously called on parents to embrace the societal moral value system where hard work was recognised and celebrated.
They said trafficking and irregular migration were on the increase because many parents had lost their sense of responsibility and had shifted it to their children, which had resulted in their desperation for riches.