By SundiataPOST, Abuja
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP), Sokoto zone, on Wednesday said it intercepted 300 victims in the last 11 months.
The Zonal Commander, Mr Hassan Tahir, who made this known at a news conference in Sokoto, said those intercepted include victims of external and internal trafficking.
He said the victims of internal trafficking usually engaged in hawking, menial jobs and other labour-intensive works, while victims of external trafficking were those involved in cross-border trafficking.
He said NAPTIP secured seven convictions within the period, stressing that five were convicted for cross-border trafficking and two for internal trafficking.
Tahir called for government intervention through cushioning the effects of poverty, which he said, was largely responsible for trafficking.
“Unless this is done by the government, human trafficking will not be controlled.
“Most of the victims were deceived by their masters, who promised them greener pasture in Europe, but some knew they would be engaged in prostitution,’’ he said.
Tahir said 17 Nigerian teenage girls were arrested in Agadez, Niger Republic, on transit to Europe.
The zonal commander said they were arrested by the police in Niger Republic and handed over to NAPTIP in Sokoto.
“While interrogating them, they confessed to have engaged in prostitution in Niger Republic and that informed our decision to conduct HIV and pregnancy tests on them.
Tahir said the victims were being counselled by the agency before they would be handed over to their families.
He said two of the suspected traffickers were being prosecuted in Niger Republic, while appealing to parents to guard against sending their wards to unknown places.