AT least 1,200 victims of human trafficking have been rescued and 10 suspected human traffickers have been arrested and convicted by the Katsina State Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
According to the State Commander of NAPTIP, Musa Aliyu, the victims comprising men, women, and their children were rescued between last year and now.
He noted that with the commitment of the Katsina State Government, the State NAPTIP liaison office has been upgraded to a Command.
He further called on the residents of the state not to hesitate to directly report issues relating to human trafficking, child abuse, child labour, and other related abuses to the office of the command.
Malam Aliyu stated this yesterday during a medical outreach/victims’ assistance program for the victims of human trafficking under the framework of the Niger-Nigeria Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Project held at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Way, New Modoji GRA, Katsina State.
The program put together by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) with support from the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) covered at least eighty (80) victims of human trafficking in Katsina State.
Beneficiaries of the program mostly women and their children were enlightened and attended to by a team of medical doctors deployed from across various hospitals in the state.
Three of the doctors deployed for the exercise include; Dr. Ammar Ibrahim, Dr. Aliyu Umar and Dr. Aminu Hamisu Rimaye of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Katsina, Katsina Eye Center, and General Amadi Rimi Specialist Hospital respectively asked the victims to feel free in disclosing their various health problems.
Earlier in her goodwill message, the Director General of the NAPTIP, Professor Fatima Waziri, stressed that the agency has been at the forefront of not only protecting victims of human trafficking but also assisting them to become better citizens of the country.
Professor Waziri represented by the NAPTIP Director Counseling and Rehabilitation, Abuja, Angela Agbayekhai, described the medical outreach/victims’ assistance program as just one out of many that the agency in collaboration with ICMPD has been carrying out.
“The issue of counselling in NAPTIP is very key because when the victims are rescued without being given proper counselling and rehabilitation, they will be lost because they go back to the society same as they have come back: they were traumatized, losing hope and confidence, and with mental issues.
“We did the same program in Kano, Benin, Abuja, and Lagos and we are here in Katsina today. We also intend to go to Enugu, Benin again and Lagos,” she stated.
On his part, a representative of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Adeniyi Bakre, explained that the project started in Agadez, Niger Republic after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Nigeria and Niger Republic barely one year ago into the project precisely on November 16, 2021.
“The MOU which was the first of its kind in the region was signed at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja where we have a delegation, well attended by the diplomatic community.
“Tremendous milestones have been achieved with the repatriation of thousands of victims of human trafficking within the two countries taken place since after the signing of the MoU with a lot of sensitisation activities taking place across the six border communities existing between the two countries,” he noted.
One of the victims, Halimatu Ibrahim, expressed appreciation for the gesture, advising couples to desist from separating or breaking their marriages as it brings more harm than good, particularly to the female children.
“I’m extremely happy with the gesture, however, I am advising our parents to stop separating their marriages because it has a big challenge, especially on the female children because they are weak and may hardly behave well right from their childhood age.
“I am also calling on our parents to put more emphasis on giving good parental care to their female children,” Ibrahim advised.
Even last year, a total of 110 victims of human trafficking were rescued by the Katsina State Police Command in 10 reported cases, and have been transferred to NAPTIP Office in Kano State for further investigation.