National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Human Rights Platform, a Turkish-based human rights group have raised concerns on the new human trafficking syndicates operating between Nigeria and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
NAPTIP spokesperson, Stella Nezan, in a statement, yesterday, noted that the human traffickers often times promised young Nigerians university education and work opportunities in TRNC, and once the students arrived at the territory, they are locked up in private apartments and forced into prostitution.
She said TRNC is a territory isolated from the world because it is not recognised as a sovereign state by any country except Turkey, and the country also struggles to implement the minimum human rights standards in many areas because of insufficient resources, capacity, and engagement with the international community, and the economy is based on two major sectors; tourism and education.
According to her, TRNC, with a population of about 326,000, currently has 22 operating universities. However, the education sector carries significant risks according to the latest cases in relation to human trafficking.
She said hotline data of the human rights platform confirmed that Nigerians form 70 per cent of the human trafficking cases, from November 2021 to date, and all are victims of sex trafficking.
NAPTIP asked Nigerian students desiring to go there to beware and ensure they have the financial means to cover all their university fees and living expenses, since the country is currently suffering from economic crisis and job opportunities for students are dire.