Operatives of the Department of State Services and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons on Thursday rescued 16 women who were being allegedly trafficked to Saudi Arabia at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The victims whose ages ranged between 15 and 60 years, were rescued at the airport after a tip-off, while two suspected traffickers leading them were arrested.
It was gathered that the two suspects, whose names had yet to be disclosed, were in the DSS custody.
Also, the passports of the suspects had reportedly been seized by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service.
A NAPTIP source said the women were brought from Kano State.
“The traffickers are also from Kano State and it is not yet clear what the purpose of their trip to Saudi Arabia is. However, with the increasing reports of exploitation being experienced by Nigerians trafficked to the Middle East region, the women might be used for cheap sexual or manual labour,” the source said,
The NAPTIP Head of Press and Public Relations, Josiah Emerole, who confirmed the incident, said the victims were in the agency’s shelter, where they were undergoing rehabilitation.