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21,181 victims of human trafficking rescued in 20 years: NAPTIP




The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it rescued 21,181 victims of human trafficking in 20 years.

The director-general, NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, said this when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Social Duties for 2024 budget defence on Thursday in Abuja.

Mrs Waziri-Azi said the agency also supported some victims requiring support during the period.

She said NAPTIP provided legal and medical, rehabilitation, reintegration and family support to the victims by helping to trace their families and reuniting them with the families.

“In 2023, NAPTIP rescued and received 2, 748 victims, which was 1,274 more than that number we rescued in 2022.

“From January to November we have already rescued and received 2,200 victims

“Our shelter in Lagos has so far received the highest the highest number of victims , followed by Katsina because of the borders , Kano and FCT shelters,” she said.

She said that Benue had the largest number of rescued victims in 2021 and 2022, followed by Ondo, Edo, Delta Kano and Imo.

“As part of our prosecuting mandate, last year,we secured 80 convictions which was the highest in any single year since inception.

“Since the beginning of this year, we have secured 63 convictions, and counting including the conviction of a high level trafficker in Benin that was responsible for trafficking 12 girls to Belgium for human trafficking and sexual exploitation,” she said.

She also said that for the first time,the agency secured the conviction of a Lebanese national, who was involved in trafficking of Nigerian girls.

“So in 20 years,NAPTIP has secured conviction of 639 convictions and counting , and for the on Marche 8 for the first time in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, the INTERPOLE, the Italian government, a high profile trafficker Charity Omoye was extradited back to Italy to serve her 13 years sentence,” she said.

She said the enhanced visibility of the organisation had put a challenge on it as the complaints on human trafficking had increased.

“In 2022, the agency received 1,462 human trafficking complaints which was plus 31 .9 per cent from the number received in 2021.

“This has caused serious strain on our human and financial resources and the challenges confronting the organisation is enormous,” she said.

She said NAPTIP in the 2023 budget was appropriated N2 billion based on the envelope to the organisation, while in 2024, N3 billion was projected as total revenue for the organisation.

She said NAPTIP relied on donor organisations for its operations.

Sen.Shehu Kaka, the chairman of the Committee, said that an oversight visit would be paid to offices of NAPTIP for on the spot assessment of its activities, while effort would be made in the areas of budgetary allocation to the organisation given its vantage role.