The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons says it has arrested three suspects of human trafficking and rescued 14 victims in the process.
Nneka Aniagoh, Public Relations of the agency disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
Aniagoh said that the suspects and their victims were intercepted by men of the Nigeria Army in Lokoja, Kogi State.
He said the army subsequently handed over the victims to NAPTIP through the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“The suspects, two females, Evelyn Jerry (27), Rebecca Stephen (30) and Richard Patrick (38) were intercepted by men of the Nigeria Army on official duty in Lokoja, Kogi State.
“They were handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service in Lokoja before they were subsequently handed over to NAPTIP,’’ she said.
She said the 14 victims were made of nine males and five females, aged between three and 13 years.
She said they were taken from Riyom, Plateau and were being taken to Ekpoma in Edo State.
“They were crammed into an eight-seater Alhambra Sedan vehicle with Plateau registration number, where they were struggling for space.
“They were taken from Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau and were on their way to Ekpoma, Edo State.
“The suspects are from the same town with the victims, and they confessed that they were taking the children to Ekpoma to be distributed to various households for labour purposes,’’ she said.
She said that the suspects claimed that the parents of the 14 victims gave their consents for them to be taken away for domestic labour.
Ms Julie Okah-Donli, reacting to the rescue and arrest, said that the “national referral mechanism’’ being put in place by NAPTIP and other sister agencies had started bearing fruits.
She said that children below the age of 12 were under legal protection from being employed as domestic staff.
She said that those found breaching that law would be prosecuted.
She expressed gratitude to men of the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Immigration Service for their roles in intercepting, rescuing and handing over both victims and suspects to NAPTIP.
Okah-Donli’s response was through a telephone chat with the News Agency of Nigeria.