The renewed onslaught by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on human traffickers across the country continues as the operatives of the Agency have arrested a middle-aged man, Emmanuel Stephen for allegedly trafficking his 21 years old girlfriend (name withheld) to Mali for prostitution and sexual exploitation.
As at the time of filing this report, the victim is said to be critically ill and has not been able to access any medical service because of her status as illegal and undocumented migrant.
It would be recalled that the Director-General of the Agency, Senator Basheer Garba Muhammed, on assumption of office few months ago, had declared a total war on human traffickers in the Country and given operatives of the Agency the matching order to smoke them out of Nigeria, so as to ensure adequate protection of Nigerians from all forms of trafficking and exploitation.
The latest development came barely two weeks after a notorious trans-border human trafficker was arrested by the combined team of NAPTIP and other sister Security Agencies in Kano on their way to Libya. About 12 victims were also rescued during the successful operation.
The suspect, Emmanuel Stephen, an indigene of Akoko, Ondo State who resides in Karimajiji, airport road, Abuja, was said to have been in a love relationship with the victim, an apprentice in one of the beauty stores in Abuja, since the past two years, with a promise to marry her.
According to a statement from the NAPTIP Press and Public Relations Unit and signed by Adekoye Vincent, during interrogation, the suspect confessed that his elder sister who stays in Mali called him early in the year and told him that she had graduated from her “Madam” and requested for a girl to be sent to her.
He stated further that he convinced his girlfriend who agreed and they were later linked up with somebody in Benin City, Edo State who later arranged the movement from Nigeria to Mali by road in April 2021.
According to him, the sister promised that the girl will help her to work in a beer parlour in Mali.
Investigation revealed that as soon as the victim arrived Mali, she was sold to another woman for a sum of N1,500,000 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) and was subsequently forced into exploitative prostitution.
Few weeks later, due to the rigorous sexual activities with numerous partners, the victim was said to have developed a strange sickness with other associated health challenges and presently in serious condition.
The victim was said to have called her family in Nigeria and narrated her ordeal to them.
Efforts by the family to bring her back yielded nothing as her Madam insisted on collecting the sum of N1.5 million before she could release her.
Reacting to the development, Director General of NAPTIP, Senator Basheer Garba Muhammed, expressed sadness over the fate of the victim and promised that the Agency will work with other partners including Security Agencies to rescue her.
“I feel sad by the plight of the victim in question. NAPTIP in partnership with other stakeholders, will do everything possible to rescue her.
“While we shall continue to heat all parts of the Country to run human traffickers out of business in Nigeria, I wish to appeal to parents to be careful with the type of relationship their Children keep.
“Many amorous relationships like the one that was staged–managed to traffic this victim, have ended up on a sad note. So, let us watch over our children and desist from giving them endless freedom even at tender age”, Senator Basheer Garba Muhammed cautioned parents.