NAPTIP reveals over 20,000 Nigerian women, girls stranded in Mali


The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Fatima Waziri-Azi, has revealed that over 20,000 Nigerian women and girls are currently stranded in Mali, with majority of them being exploited sexually and made to live under unimaginable conditions.

While confirming the statistics, she said out of the 20,000 women and girls, only 16 have been successfully repatriated back to Nigeria.

She made the remarks while delivering a presentation at the special briefings coordinated by the Presidential Media Team on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where she noted that unscrupulous persons engaging in human trafficking have made it a cartel, such that it has assumed a multi-billion dollar dimension.

She revealed that globally about 40.3million persons are victims of trafficking, majority of them stranded and facing excruciating conditions of living and having no means of escaping their traffickers because of stringent conditions.

She also noted that globally, an estimated 17,272 victims have been rescued over the years, with 4000 being males and over 13,000 females.

According to her, there is a surge in internal trafficking but issues around external trafficking are mostly highlighted.

“But I know, the data we had in NAPTIP say three years old data now, the percentage was 75% across the state trafficking going on in Nigeria, then 23% within the states, then 2% across the borders, but of course, these are moving data each year, you get something new.

“The truth is, when you talk about migration, it’s part of Africans. And because of the economic situation, people tend to move. So in my presentation, I talked about socio economic situations that NAPTIP does not have control over. And that has to do with issues of poverty, lack of educational opportunities, job opportunities, and also greed, you know, greed, people saying, oh, I want to go look for greener pastures, forgetting that the grass is only as green as you water it.

“So these are factors that we don’t have control over. And these are root causes of trafficking in persons as well as smuggling of migrants.”

Waziri-Azi also spoke about a growing trend in organ trafficking, which she noted required a lot of enlightenment to disabuse the minds of individuals engaging in them.

According to the NAPTIP boss, “Organ trafficking is, of course, one of the emerging trends. But this is an area that we still need to do research, real research. But last year, a report was released by Interpol. And that report highlights Nigeria as an origin, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons for organ removals.

“When we talk about organ trafficking, there are two sides of it. So you have criminal enterprises that deal solely in organ trafficking. So what they do is they you know, they go out, they seek potential victims, they promise you jobs, they promise you scholarships, they promise you all sorts of nice things. Then when they get you to where you want to go, you are killed, and your organs are taken.

“This is basically because there is a global shortage of human organs to be used for ethical transplants. We’re talking about demand and supply. And that is what has driven that whole underground enterprise when it comes to organ trafficking. There is a report that was released by one of these UN agencies in the black market, a kidney goes for over 250,000 US dollars. So it is a thriving business. And there is an entire value chain that has to do with organ trafficking.

“So you have recruiters, you have brokers. Recruiters are the ones that target vulnerable communities. So you go to probably a rural area, and you target four people, then you have brokers, then you have medical personnel, you have medical institutions. So it’s an entire value chain. So that’s one part of it.

“Then, the other part of it are people who get fished to donate organs. People targeted for organ trafficking are mostly adults, because of course your organs are fully formed. So children don’t, children are not being targeted. Then you have cases of people willingly agreeing to donate a kidney or donate a kid a liver or donate part of your lung for a fee. And it thrives because of misinformation and disinformation.

“So you have traffickers who come up to you and tell you, ‘why are you suffering, you know, come and donate your kidney. After all, as an adult, you only need one kidney to survive.’ And it’s not true. They don’t tell you that. If you have pre-existing conditions, there is a possibility that if you donate one kidney the other kidney will not even last.

“And they also tell you that there’s a possibility that your kidney will regenerate and that it would grow back; there is no scientific backing to that.

“So there’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation driving organ trafficking. So we need to keep churning out information about it because if an adult really wants to go donate his kidney, we can’t stop that person.

“But we can only give that person the kind of information that if that person has the person definitely won’t board a plane to go donate their organs. So this is an area that we’re still researching.”

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