In a rather disturbing development, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) has rescued 50 Nigerian girls, mostly underaged, working as sex slaves in neighboring Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire.
The girls, apparently victims of human trafficking, are between the ages of 16 and 25. Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, who made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said three suspects, acting as their slave masters, were also arrested. She said the suspects, who admitted to the crime, would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others engaged in the activities.
Jedy-Agba, who was represented by NAPTIP’s Director of Counselling and Rehabilitation in the agency, Mrs Lily Oguejiofor, said the rescue operation was the second of its kind this year, having rescued 10 girls in July, 2012 from Ivory Coast, bringing the total number of girls rescued this year from West African countries to 60.
She said the operation was necessitated by disturbing reports from a variety of sources, including the Nigerian mission in those countries, the media, Nigerians in diaspora, and civil society organisations in the countries. She then noted that the reports were all authenticated by an intelligence report from the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and corroborated by a civil society organisation working on anti-trafficking issues in Ghana known as “Operation Mobilisation in Kumasi.”