With the annual increase in the numbers of victims rescued in Ibadan, the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour unit of the Nigerian Immigration Service says Oyo state is becoming notorious for human trafficking.

The Assistant Comptroller of the unit, Foluso Akintola who was a discussant at a book reading event in Ibadan said this on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

He said “The Immigration Service in Oyo State has rescued several children of ages between six and 10 years. These are gross minors while many minors of less than 18 years old have equally been rescued in lbadan and its environs.

“These are mostly used as house-helps, shop attendants and vendors/hawkers.

“In 2016, we rescued 134 victims and arrested 38 traffickers, 107 end-users with 11 victims, four traffickers processed to NAPTIP.

“In 2017, 139 victims were rescued, one trafficker and one end-user were arrested and processed to NAPTIP. In 2018–163 victims, 27 traffickers arrested while one victim and one trafficker were processed to NAPTIP. In the first quarter of this year 2019, 28 victims have been rescued, eight traffickers with 12 end-users arrested.

“The phenomenon of human trafficking has become a big illegal criminal business in Nigeria.

“Occurrences of these businesses are more prominent in Oyo, Edo and Delta states of Nigeria.

“They are now a major national problem for the already crest fallen Nigeria. The fear in Nigeria of sudden disappearance of children and adults to migration and human trafficking is real and palpable.

“The problems posed by these issues have far-reaching effects on Nigeria’s image to the outside world. Recent media reports tend to portray Nigeria as a major hub for illicit movements of persons.

“Italy used to be the destination of most trafficked victims from Nigeria but with high mortality rate in the desert and the Mediterranean Sea in Lampadusa, the traffickers tend to have changed destination to the Arab world.

“The latest operational system of these traffickers today is a promise of a lucrative job in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Libya, etc. They recruit ladies from here to be shipped to the Arab world most of whom end up in prostitution.”

Recall that in January 2019, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it was making efforts to rescue about 20,000 Nigerian girls trapped in different parts of Mali.