Over 25,000 Nigerian women and girls are reportedly trapped in Mali, according to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The Commander of the Benin Zone of NAPTIP, Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, disclosed this during a workshop for media professionals in Lagos. The workshop, aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of human trafficking was organised by NAPTIP in collaboration with FIIAPP and Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM).
NAPTIP’s investigation revealed that these women and girls were lured to Mali by Malian men because they spend more money on women compared to Nigerian men. Nwanwenne said: “The second major reason is that Malian men are proud of sleeping with women from Nigeria, the giant of Africa.”
NAPTIP has been working to combat human trafficking in Nigeria. The agency has convicted 604 human traffickers and arrested over 9,102 suspected traffickers from 2004 to May 2023. Moreover, within that same period, NAPTIP rescued about 20,660 Nigerian victims of human trafficking, who were subsequently rehabilitated at the agency’s shelter.
A total of 12,291 cases of human trafficking were reported during the period under review. At the workshop, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs Fatima Waziri-Azi, expressed the importance of the media in creating awareness about human trafficking. She aimed to draw more attention to the problem of human trafficking, especially the risks that migrants face.
The FIIAPP and A-TIPSOM lead, Mr Federico Millan, said that the media plays a crucial role in combating human trafficking, emphasising the need for prevention measures. “Prevention is important in tackling human trafficking, and the media is a major channel for creating awareness and protecting victims,” Millan said.
The Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act led to the establishment of NAPTIP in 2003, the act criminalises all forms of human trafficking and modern-day slavery in Nigeria.
Beyond creating awareness, participants at the event, were also encouraged to report incidents of human trafficking to NAPTIP or relevant authorities