The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has rescued 132 victims of human trafficking in Akwa Ibom since the beginning of 2020.
The Director-General of the agency, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo on Thursday.
She said 40 of the victims were rescued from sexual exploitation, 28 from baby sellers, 23 from labour exploitation, while others were for other sundry exploitation issues.
Okah-Donli said that the ages of the rescued victims ranged from five months to 34 years.
She said 40 per cent of them were from the Oron axis of the state because of its strategic trade location as a gateway to the Atlantic.
Okah-Donli said that the establishment of the State Task Forces on Human Trafficking was a component part of the agency’s strategic thrust aimed at expanding its frontiers.
She explained that the task force was to enhance state and non-state multi-sectoral response toward combating human trafficking in Nigeria.
The director-general also said it was aimed at enhancing comprehensive prevention and coordinated legal and other services for trafficked victims through capacity building, technical assistance and institutional development.
“The overall objective of the task force is the coordination and reactivation of technical inter-agency cooperation meetings with key stakeholders.
” They include donors, development partners, law enforcement agencies, MDAs and NGOs to enhance the capacities of state and non-state actors as well as multi-sectoral response towards improving partnerships.
“These partnerships are aimed at the prevention of human trafficking, protection of victims of human trafficking, offer access to justice for victims of trafficking, prosecution of traffickers.
”The partnership is also aimed at enhancing the process of successful restoration of victims of trafficking to the state of physical, psychological, social, vocational and economic well being,’’ she said.
Okah-Donli commended the Nigerian Navy and other sister security agencies in the state for their continued assistance to the agency in combating human trafficking.
She solicited for continued support, adding that more would be achieved with increased support from the media, religious and traditional institutions.
In his remark, the Project Officer, Counter-Trafficking and Mixed Migration in the International Organisation for Migration, Mrs Betham Ngurum, said the agency had rescued over 17, 000 Nigerians involved in illegal migration in Libya, Mali and other parts of the world since 2017.
Ngurum said that over 6, 771 of them had so far been rehabilitated with 45 of them from Akwa Ibom.