Leadership (Abuja)

12 November 2012

Nigeria: Ambassador Raises Alarm Over Massive Human Trafficking in Mali

The Nigerian Ambassador to Mali, Mr Iliya Nuhu, has raised the alarm over the high rate of trafficking of Nigerian girls to the West African country.

Nuhu said in Bamako, the Malian capital, that the problem had grown in 'magnitude and sophistication' to the extent that a substantial number of Nigerians in Mali seem to be thriving on it.

He described the practice as 'a kind of modern-day slavery' with Nigerians going to their villages or towns to bring in young girls between the ages of 10 and 15.

He said the traffickers were taking advantage of Nigeria's economic problems to lure their victims with promises of setting them up in 'very lucrative businesses abroad'.

"These people (traffickers) tell them about businesses which are not there, and these girls, with very loose parental upbringing, fall for their tricks.

"They go to Nigeria to source for these girls and sell them off to their cronies, not only in Mali but in other countries; but we are able to work, in cooperation with these countries, to map out the routes the traffickers follow.

"Since August, we have assisted no fewer than 30 of these girls to return to the country and this is a daily routine that the embassy and the staff go through.

He further noted that an average of 20 to 30 girls were being trafficked into Mali everyday and that those the Nigerian embassy official retrieve were those who cry out for help.

Nuhu said the embassy was working with the police in Mali on how to identify the traffickers, adding that he had written a memo to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, to work out a strategy to solve the problem.

"We, however, call on the Federal Government to work with NAPTIP or take appraisal of what they are doing and see if there are gaps to be filled so that they can have the capacity to do this job.

"NAPTIP also should be able to have the necessary information through their own network to able to follow up these routes and study the mode of operation of the traffickers and beat them to it," he added

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