‘30 Nigerian Girls Trafficked To Mali Daily’

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Iliya
Nuhu, the Nigerian ambassador to Mali, has revealed that an estimated 30 girls
from the country are trafficked into Mali daily. Describing the problem as a “kind of
modern slavery”, the envoy said the problem had grown in “magnitude and
sophistication”, with Nigerians going to their villages or towns to recruit
young girls.
Nuhu said the girls are between the
ages of 10 and 15, adding that the traffickers took advantage of Nigeria’s
economic problems to lure their victims with promises of setting them up in
“very lucrative businesses abroad”.

“These people tell them about
businesses which are not there and these girls, with very loose parental
upbringing, fall for their tricks,” he said. “They go to Nigeria to source
these girls and sell them off to their cronies not only in Mali but in other
countries; but we are able to work in cooperation with these countries to map
out the routes the traffickers follow.

Since August, we have assisted not
less than 30 of these girls to return to the country and this is a daily
routine that the embassy and the staff go through. From what I gathered from
the Nigerian community in Mali, an average of 20 to 30 girls are being
trafficked into this country every day and those we get are those who raise the
alarm.’’
He said the embassy was working with
the Malian police to identify the traffickers, adding that he had written a
memo to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, to work out a strategy to solve
the problem.
“We, however, call on the federal
government to work with NAPTIP or take appraisal of what they are doing and see
if there are gaps to be filled so that they can have the capacity to do this
job,” he said. “NAPTIP also should be able to have the necessary information
through their own network to be able to follow up these routes and study the
mode of operation of the traffickers and beat them to it.’’
One of the four girls rescued from the
traffickers, Joy Monday, a hairdresser, described how she was lured her to
Mali.
“The woman told me that I can make
between N5,000 and N7,000 fixing one person’s hair in Mali only to discover on
getting here that I am to be a prostitute and I was rescued by a man who
brought me to the embassy,” she said.
Another victim, Chidinma Ubah, said a
man called Sunny, brought her to Mali, promising her that he was taking her to
Europe. She said she sought refuge in a police station when she discovered that
she was to be a prostitute.
Nuhu said arrangements were being made
to return the girls to Nigeria.

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