Uyo - The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) says it has arrested 24 suspected human traffickers in Uyo zone in the first quarter of the year.
The Zonal Commander of the agency, Ikechi Nwachukwu, disclosed this in an interview on Sunday in Uyo.
Nwachukwu said that the agency had also secured the conviction of one person in Cross River, who was sentenced a one year prison term.
The zonal commander, who assumed duty in the zone which comprises Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers in January, said that the command also rescued 17 victims during the period.
He said that the command had devised new operational strategies to make the zone uncomfortable for human traffickers.
He said, “traffickers are always smart in their game; as we chase them away from one side they devise other ways of luring their vulnerable victims into the trade.
“In the last three months, our level of operation has been raised within the zone and it has helped to expose the antics and tactics of traffickers.
“We will continue to do our best and chase them out of their heinous trade.
“What we are doing now is enlightening our people not to be carried away by their offer for involvement in this modern slavery.”
Nwachukwu said that as part of the new strategy, NAPTIP has involved communities in rural areas in its campaigns.
He said that the agency had also mobilised members of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) to carry on with the campaign in their places of primary assignment.
He described human trafficking as modern slavery which was giving the country a bad image, pledging that the command would not relent in exposing those involved in the illegal business.
Nwachukwu commended other security agencies in the state for their cooperation and assistance to NAPTIP, which had led to the success of its operations.
He appealed to the Federal Government as well as governments of states within the zone, to assist NAPTIP with utility vehicles and communication gadgets, to enable it perform efficiently.
Nwachukwu particularly thanked the Chairman of Obiokpor Local Government Area in Rivers and his counterpart in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, for providing the agency with liaison offices.
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