NAPTIP warns against traffickers disguising as sports scouts

THE National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has warned against traffickers who pretend to be sports scouts while carrying out criminal activities.

Director-General of the Agency Fatima Waziri-Azi issued the warning in Abuja on Saturday, July 29.

She warned youths, who were interested in sporting activities, especially football, to be wary of people with criminal intentions seeking to exploit their ambitions.

Waziri-Azi disclosed this during a football match held in commemoration of the 2023 World Day against Human Trafficking and the 20th anniversary of NAPTIP.

“NAPTIP has the powers to regulate and to issue clearance to travel agencies, tour operators and sporting recruitment agencies. Potential sportsmen and women are at liberty to demand for NAPTIP clearance from the recruitment agencies before engaging with them,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Agency also sensitised People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Edo state on the need to be more aware of traffickers preying on their vulnerabilities.

    NAPTIP Commander, Benin Zonal Office Nduka Nwawenene said PWDs were also now becoming major targets for traffickers and others involved in organ harvesting.

    “There have been silent recruitment and exploitation of persons with disabilities, so with this enlightenment, it is an avenue to bring them into NAPTIP effort to end human trafficking. The nexus between people with disability, human trafficking and violence against persons necessitated the disability inclusion policy by NAPTIP directed general Fatima Waziri-Azi,” Nwawenene said.

    According to the 2022 United States Department Trafficking In Persons Report, Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking. NAPTIP statistics between 2019- 2022 show that 61 per cent of human trafficking in Nigeria happens internally, while 39 per cent occurs across borders.

    In 2022, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) said human traffickers exploit the Economic Community West African States (ECOWAS) travel certificate to avoid security checks while carrying out illicit activities.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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