Human trafficking: Desired destination now Mid-East -Investigation
By Umoru Ibrahim & Musa Ahmad Tijjani
Human trafficking in Nigeria has now taken a new dimension as the country’s human traffickers have discovered some countries in the Middle East as the most lucrative and attractive destinations for their illegal trade.
The intent, it is understood, is to perpetrate modern human slavery.
Recall before this development, some countries in Western Europe were known to have been in the forefront of attracting the victims of human trafficking from Nigeria, but in this new dimension, Saudi Arabia is now the leading country where this anti-human trade now thrives, followed by Oman while Lebanon picks the least position in the region where victims of trafficking from Nigeria are taken to, investigation by The Triumph can further reveal.
Our findings showed that the agents perpetrating this trade in Nigeria now direct their attention to countries in the Middle East not only because the demands are now higher in that part of the world , but also because getting across to the region is relatively easier and safer than getting to Europe.
Another factor that appears to have influenced the choice of Middle East as a location for trafficking is the frequent capsizing of ships boats taking the victims of human trafficking across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, resulting in multiple deaths of the victims.
This development which The Triumph learnt has frightened the agents and potential victims is one of the factors that has engineered the Middle East as alternative destination.
A source at MallamAminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), who confided in The Triumph, expressed surprise on why some people still rush, and willingly surrender themselves to human slavery, despite the bizarre narratives of those who have experienced such an exploitation of man by man.
The source has however, acknowledged the fact that the rush for greener pasture outside Nigeria cannot be unconnected with the harsh economic reality in the country.
According to him, though people engage in all kinds of activities because of domestic economic realities, the frightening stories from returnee victims should have served as deterrent to those still rushing to those countries.
We authoritatively gathered that in order to subject themselves to inhuman treatment, some Nigerians even sell their houses either to sponsor themselves or their relatives to these countries based on the promises of some elusive agents.
These promises of lucrative jobs and other wonderful opportunities which often wetted the appetites of the victims are in most instances, found to be fake as the victims find no jobs or other opportunities as soon as they get to these destinations.
This, we further gathered, leads to the victims being involved in all kinds of immoral conducts as the only means of survival while in these countries.
Contacted, the Zonal Commander of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Kano, AlhajiShehu Umar told The Triumph that indeed, the agents of human trafficking in this part of the country now prefer sending their victims more often to the Middle Eastern countries than to Europe with Saudi Arabia as the leading destination for the inhuman act.
Giving details of his agency’s activities in Kano since January this year, the Commander said almost all the victims intercepted from January this year till date are those wanting to travel to the Middle Eastern countries, adding: “From January to the 23rd of September 2019, the agency has intercepted 68 victims of human trafficking. 56 of these were traveling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, eight to Oman while 4 were traveling to Lebanon.”
On the general note, according to the Commander, the Agency has intercepted 234 victims from January till date at MallamAminu Kano International Airport.
As for the number of cases of human trafficking handled this year, Alhaji Umar told The Triumph said the Agency has since January this year, handled 149 cases involving 118 suspects, explaining that 50 of the cases have been concluded, 50 are under investigation while 39 are kept in view, adding that 10 out of the cases were charged to courts out which four convictions were secured in rape, child labour and child abuse cases from guardians as well as kidnapping.
The Commander however, disclosed that taking into consideration the situation in the past years, he is convinced that both external and internal human trafficking are reducing by day.
Analyzing the factors responsible for the menace, he attributed this to poverty, greed, influence of peer groups, large family sizes and lack of formal education, and called on Nigerians and other relevant agencies to support the Agency in its war to put to an end human trafficking which in all ramifications is modern day slavery.