Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Donly-Okah, has said that about 3 million young Nigerians are currently held in sexual labour, within the country and other parts of the world.
Donly-Okah who stated this on Tuesday when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora for the defence of her agency’s 2020 budget estimates, said the ugly development requires a robust response from the government.
The NAPTIP DG noted that the challenges confronting the agency are enormous, especially with the upsurge in migration to Europe from the Middle East and parts of Africa, including Nigeria.
Therefore, she said the fight against human trafficking cannot be overemphasised, as it is an organised and versatile crime which is used to finance terrorism and drug trade in the country.
According to her, “the challenges confronting NAPTIP are quite enormous, and this has been worsened by the current upsurge in migration to Europe from the Middle East and parts of Africa, especially Nigeria.
“The latest estimate indicates that 3million young Nigerians are held in sexual labour and other forms of slavery internally and in various parts of the world. And this certainly needs a robust response from our government, which enjoys enormous goodwill globally.”
Donly-Okah explained that NAPTIP budget for the 2020 fiscal year is concentrated on the core functions that will enable it fulfil its mandate.
However, the NAPTIP DG lamented that the N33 million allocated to the agency as capital budget in the 2020 budget was grossly inadequate.
“I am sure you will agree with me that 33million, which is meant to be our capital budget is grossly inadequate. And the budget proposed by the agency for 2020 takes into account the economic situation of the country. Our budget for 2020 concentrates on the core areas that will enable the agency fulfil its mandate in view of the national and global expectations.
“The budget aligns with the priority area of government, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),the recovery growth plan and other subsisting economic development policy of government,” she stated.
The DG sought the intervention of the National Assembly in the plans by the agency to provide permanent shelters for victims of trafficking in its six zonal commands, social and economic rehabilitation and empowerment of victims of trafficking, leasing of aircraft for periodic repatriation of trafficked victims and engagement with Nigerian embassies abroad among others.