The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Benin Zonal Command, says it has returned 30 intercepted suspected victims of human trafficking back to their point of origin.
Chidiebere Oruruo-Ifudu, the zonal commander of the agency, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Wednesday.
Mrs Oruruo-Ifudu said the victims were intercepted by the State Security Service in Benin on January 19, and handed over to the agency.
She said the preliminary investigation revealed the victims’ point of origin was Uyo, but were intercepted on their way to the South-west, precisely Ondo.
She said that preliminary investigation also revealed that the older ones were between 25 and 28 years.
“They were returning to the South-west with the younger ones who were in the majority and were underage and were intercepted for possible human trafficking and child slavery.”
Mrs Oruruo-Ifudu said the victims had been transferred to the Uyo Zonal Command of the agency for further investigation since the victims’ point of origin was Uyo.
She expressed optimism that on completion of investigation, the main traffickers and sponsors of the victims would be arrested in no time and prosecuted.
The zonal commander said it was in view of perceived ignorance of some persons, especially those in the hinterland on the ills of human trafficking and child slavery that the command started its second phase of the ‘blue bus’ awareness campaign.
She said the campaign, which commenced on Tuesday, was being carried out in partnership with the International Organisation on Migration (IOM).
The essence of the campaign, she said, was to create awareness as well as sensitisation in endemic areas. She said the second phase of the blue bus awareness campaign was taking place in Delta State.
She said the areas to cover during the sensitisation are Abraka, Ethiope East Local Government Area, Ndokwa West Local Government Area, Sapele Local Government Area, Isoko North Local Government Area and Ethiope West Local Government Area.
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