“Some youths are deceived with the promises of playing football in China and India, phony scholarships, and some are lured overseas by their greed. We think it is better to help the youngsters before they die in the desert or vanish in the Mediterranean or are subjected to prostitution on the streets of Italy or Spain,” he said.
“Some parents would even take loan to sponsor their children to go and prostitute themselves in Europe. They come to the youths and promise to take them abroad to work but tell them that they shouldn’t tell their parents. Why won’t you tell your parents if someone wants to really help you? We decided to partner with NAPTIP to help curb this monster.”
“We are here in Lagos to do some programmes, going to schools to create awareness. We are also visiting media houses so that they can know what we are doing. In the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, we cannot do it alone; we need partnership with all strata of the society and the media. Whatever we do, if the media is not involved, we may not be able to achieve much. We are here to interface with you,” he said.
According to him, “This illegal trade is worth between 32 to 40 billion dollars annually, so it is second only to drugs and smuggling of arms. The people behind these are powerful elements, powerful because the long arm of the law has not caught up with them.
“The Challenge of migration is not new to humanity. Europe is overwhelmed by refugee crisis. We don’t want to wait until it is too late, that is why we are engaging the public. When it comes to prosecution, most of the time, the criminal elements are members of the same family.
“Most of the time, they are related and at the end of the day, there are a lot of sentiments. Most of the time, the victims don’t open up because they were made to swear an oath. These things affect prosecution because at the end of the day, the victims would not agree to press charges and the traffickers usually walk away scot-free.”
“If you arrest hundreds of suspects and there are no victim to say they have committed the crime, the suspects are freed.”
Scarcity of funds, he said, has prevented more states from benefitting from this noble gesture.
“Many Nigerians now use underage children as house helps, bringing them in from neighbouring countries and even from the north and southern parts of the country, maltreating them and refusing them access to education. The use of underage children as house helps have been prohibited in Nigeria and is now a punishable offence by law. The use of underage children in brothels and hotels is also an offence,” he said and urged people to anonymously report such instances to NAPTIP and urgent action would be taken.
He classified the latest evil trend of baby factories that have sprung up in some parts of Nigeria, as another form of human trafficking.