The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons, Benue State Zonal Command on Wednesday, reunited 32 victims of human trafficking with their families.
The victims were intercepted by the policemen on January 5th this year while being trafficked to Osun State but were reunited with their families on Wednesday after they were taken home in two buses accompanied by NAPTIP officials in the company of officials of Ukum Local Government Area.
NAPTIP Commander, Makurdi Zonal Command, Gloria Bai, told journalists that most of the 32 victims were underage children.
Bai said that the suspect, Angbiandoo Akaasema, and the 32 children, all from Ukum Local Government Area of the state were en route to Osun State when they were intercepted.
She said, “Out of the 32 young children, 21 were already there but only returned home for Christmas while 11 others were being taken as freshers.
The Zonal Commander said that the victims while in custody were profiled and discovered that it was more of a business owned by a family member who is in Osun State.
“The suspect said her husband owns a Non-Governmental-Organization and wants to help the children to get access to education because of the crisis in their area.
“So when they landed in Osun, they distributed them to people in their church to do house helps and shop attendants and in return, the people send them to school.
“We are yet to find out whether the organization is genuine and if the children were being exploited but the suspect is still in our custody for further investigation.
The NAPTIP Zonal Commander who noted that some of the children were taken at the age of 10 and others below 18 years pointed out that it is against the law to engage any child below the age of 18 as a house help or for any form of labour.
“Three of the children are from the same parents and from what we heard, they are ready to give out all their children even when they don’t know where the children are being headed.
Bai urged members of the public to give the agency information that would make it detect human traffickers and called on local government chairmen and traditional rulers in the state to assist the agency in sensitising the people.
She urged parents to plan their families and give birth to children they would be able to care for rather than distribute their children to unknown people.