Report from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has revealed that there are currently 5,000 Nigerians in different parts of Mali forced into prostitution by their traffickers.
The victims the report states had been “lured to Mali with the promise of helping them to Europe.”
This is even as the agency revealed that it has commenced investigation into the trafficking into Mali of 37 female Nigerians who were on Monday deported to Nigeria by the Malian authorities.
Four female suspects were also deported with the victims.
In a statement to LEADERSHIP, yesterday, it revealed that acting director-general of NAPTIP, Mr Abdulrazak Dangiri directed that investigation on the trafficking of the 37 girls must be thorough adding that sloppiness would not be tolerated.
Speaking to the top management of the agency on the Malian case, he stated that “While the victims are being counseled by NAPTIP Counselors, the suspects are in NAPTIP custody and making usefulN statements.”
Recall that the Malian Police had on Thursday 16th February, 2017,
rescued the Nigerian girls, aged 15 to 32 years, being used as sex slaves in Koflatie – an area in Northern Mali reportedly notorious for prostitution. Five female suspects- four Nigerians and a Ghanaian were also arrested in the course of the raid.
The statement revealed that “Investigations into the matter commenced before the deportation as investigators from the Agency who are also members of the Joint Border Task Force (JBTF) had as soon as the Malian authorities reached the agency through the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom gone to Mali to profile, debrief and interview the victims and suspects preparatory to their return”
It added that “The invitation of the NAPTIP-JBTF team was necessitated by the need to bring to bear the Nigerian experience on handling human trafficking cases; in identifying and to substantiate points to prove acts of human trafficking in the Malian case”.
The statement further revealed that the repatriation of the Nigerians was greatly assisted by the Defence Headquarters which tasked the Nigerian Air Force to help in bringing back the girls who were already posing a security risk to Mali.