By Ugochukwu Alaribe
UMUAHIA- The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has warned parents against traffickers who use ‘sweet’ promises to lure their children to prostitution, baby factories, child labour and other vices.
The agency identified such ‘sweet’ promises to include oversea job offers, promises to train children in schools, learning a trade and engagement as house-helps.
Speaking during sensitization visit to communities in Osisioma Ngwa council area of Abia State, Head, NAPTIP, Abia State, Mrs Nkemdilim Okafor, disclosed that most cases of child trafficking started from cases where parents handed over their children to persons who promised to sponsor them overseas or engaged them as house helps and train them in schools.
She stated that many trafficked children had gotten unwanted pregnancies through operators of baby factories while others lost their lives and urged parents to be careful on whom they hand over their children to.
Okafor explained that NAPTIP resolved to sensitize residents of rural communities against the dangers of child trafficking after it identified that traffickers take advantage of low level of awareness and poverty in the areas to lure parents to release their children to them.
She urged residents of the state not to hesitate to volunteer information about traffickers and those who hire or employ underage children as domestic help and assured that such information would be treated with strict confidence.
She said; “Child traffickers are still on the prowl. Child trafficking is modern day slavery. This is why NAPTIP has engaged in sensitizing communities and parents on the dangers of handing over their children to people they do not know too well. You must be vigilant especially during this festive period as they will visit and use their sweet tongues to lure you and your children with tempting gifts. They will come to take advantage of the low level awareness and poverty in the rural communities.
“You must ignore all these people that come to you with sweet talks and promises of sponsoring your child abroad, engaging and training them as house helps and placing parents on monthly salaries and giving you bags of rice and other good things. Most of these people are dishonest. They will only exploit your children and turn them into sex slaves and prostitutes and child labourers. Some will not train your children in schools as they promised, but may even use them for rituals. Therefore, we need to be careful in order not to endanger the lives of our children because some of them have gotten unwanted pregnancies from baby factories while others have lost their lives. NAPTIP has been preaching against these social vices. Since 2006, we have arrested many child traffickers and rescued over 2,000 victims of abuse.”
In his address, the Chairman of Osisioma Ngwa council, Chief Christian Kamalu, who was represented by the Head of Personnel Management of the Council, Mr. Ugochukwu Iheancho, pledged to collaborate with NAPTIP against child trafficking, stressing that the activities of the agency had reduced baby factories and sales.
During the visit to his palace, the traditional ruler of Umuode Autonomous community, Eze Young Noble Ajuzieogu, who commended NAPTIP for the sensitization tour of the rural communities, further assured the agency of partnership in the fight against child trafficking.
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