The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has revealed alarming information regarding the current situation of trafficked Nigerian girls in Mali. According to the agency’s intelligence, more than 2,000 Nigerian girls are presently stranded in Mali due to trafficking.
During the 2023 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons event held in Benin, Nduka Nwanwene, the Benin Zone Commander of NAPTIP, made this troubling revelation. He also disclosed that the agency had received information about the trafficking of Malian girls to Edo State in Nigeria for prostitution.
Nwanwene stressed the situation’s urgency, stating that traffickers were now transporting young girls from Mali into Benin City for prostitution, reversing the previous trend where Mali was a destination for girls trafficked from Nigeria. The scale of this problem is immense, as he further mentioned that a staggering number of over 20,000 Nigerian girls find themselves stranded in Mali.
He said, “We just gathered intelligence that traffickers are bringing young girls from Mali to Benin for prostitution; we are investigating. But many Nigerians, especially young girls, are stranded in Mali; over 20,000 Nigerian girls are stranded in Mali.
“Mali used to be a destination for girls trafficked from Nigeria, but now the reverse is the case as Mali girls are being trafficked into Benin City for prostitution.”
Despite the challenges, NAPTIP, under the leadership of Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, is making significant progress in combating human trafficking. The agency has achieved convictions of high-profile traffickers, facilitated evidence-based rehabilitation, and empowered survivors of this heinous crime.
In his address, Nwanwene called upon all stakeholders to unite and extend their support in tackling this pressing issue of human trafficking. He emphasized the need to work collectively towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals, with a special focus on the theme of this year’s event: “Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind.” Combating human trafficking demands concerted efforts and a collective determination to protect the vulnerable and bring the perpetrators to justice.