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T.I Ukende
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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Makurdi Zonal Command, Benue State have arrested two suspects in connection with the sale of babies.

The command also said that within the space of six months they have recorded about seven reported cases of trafficking involving 13 children, out of which, 3 of the children have been rescued.

The NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Gloria Bai who disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen in her office on Sunday, lamented that the state was gradually becoming a hub for trafficking.

While she stated that the suspects would soon be charged to court, she explained that the recent concerns were cases involving young girls that may be linked to operators of baby factories.

According to her, “We have two young boys who were taken from Gboko and sold out in Lagos. The syndicate has been arrested and the case is in court, and the boys were rescued with the help of the Nigerian police.

“Traffickers have started using that opportunity, preying on the vulnerability of these young girls because some of them have been chased away from their homes after such pregnancies.”

Her advice to parents is that “If a girl is pregnant that doesn’t mean the end for the girl. Parents should allow their children to open up to them and watch carefully what is happening around them because the traffickers are around and they are actually taking advantage of these young girls.

“The traffickers now are using that avenue to deceive these young girls; take them somewhere, make them have the babies and then sell the babies. We have received so many cases.

“We know that there are cases where some of them are told that the babies were dead and they are not even paid one kobo, while others were paid some form of stipends. Right now we have arrested two suspects who are members of the syndicate involved in luring the girls.”

Bai also pointed out that the command had other cases among them, a girl who was taken to Abia state whose baby was sold and she was given N100,000.

She further observed that “We had a case where a woman came from Bayelsa to buy the baby (the baby is yet to be recovered) and we also have intelligence that some others are coming from the East. People are ready to traffick young girls and also deceive them into selling their babies.”

The Zonal Commander noted that “one of the main visions of the Director-General of NAPTIP, Basheer Mohammed, is to bring everyone on board, educate them of the harmful practice of human trafficking, so as to stem the tide and I am also committed to that.

“We are going to sensitize more people through town hall meetings with communities because most of the victims are from the less privileged homes where parents don’t have good means of livelihood. So we need to talk to them.”

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