Friday, January 1, 2010

Police arrest 132 human traffickers

Human Trafficking Unit of the Nigeria Police Force arrested 132 human traffickers in 2009.

The unit also rescued over 170 victims within the same period.

Head of the Unit, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Juliana Abah, stated that the unit did not go abroad to arrest the traffickers, but they were arrested "internally".

Abah disclosed this at a workshop on "Violence Against Women" in Abuja.

Speaking on efforts by the Nigeria Police on Human Trafficking, she said, "More than 70 young girls were rescued and reintegrated with the families and close to 100 females have been rehabilitated."

She disclosed further that the unit discovered that children were in the majority at the receiving end, saying those who indulged in child sale internally make a whopping gain from such act.

According to her, most of the times the suspects would procure babies from their victims at the sum of N30,000 or N40,000 depending on the sex, and sell for N300,000 or N400,000, also depending on the sex.

Answering questions on efforts being made to checkmate activities of human traffickers, Abah said suspects were being prosecuted at different courts, but advocated for special courts to prosecute human trafficking cases.

She said the demand for special court was necessary going by experiences of the unit in courts, adding that, "We are prosecuting a doctor in Aba for illegal adoption and sale of babies, the prosecution was stalled because the courts were on strike."

This kind of situation, according to her, has made it difficult for suspects to be properly prosecuted.

"We don't have settlement homes, and it becomes difficult for the unit to continue holding victims that could provide evidence in courts," she added

Appreciating efforts of partnering agencies like the UNICEF, UNIFEM, the Inspector General of Police and NAPTIP, for training and retraining officers and creating child-friendly environment, Abah said the unit should be strengthened and equipped.

According to her, more than 5,000 officers were trained and retrained in 2009 and more would be trained and retrained since the unit had offices in all commands in the nation.

On how the unit accesses information on traffickers or their human victims, the ACP said the unit relied on intelligent gathering, surveillance, petitions, complaints and other viable sources.

Daily Independent

Related stories: Alarming increase of Nigerian girls trafficked to Italy

Nigeria is the largest African source of trafficked women to Europe and Asia

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