Benin - The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) on Thursday empowered 28 Nigerian returnees from Mali.
The Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, made the fact known in Benin at the presentation of items and equipment to the beneficiaries.
The agency made the presentation in partnership with the International Labour Organization.
Jedy-Agba said the gesture was part of the agency’s mandate in carrying out rehabilitation and integration of trafficked victims through empowerment for wealth creation.
She said the agency trained the 28 victims in vocations of their choices, adding that poverty was a major challenge that had fuelled trafficking in persons and needed to be addressed.
Jedy-Agba said that part of the desperation by some Nigerians to travel abroad for greener pasture at all cost had led to their using Mali as a transit route through the desert to parts of North Africa and Europe.
Represented by the Director in-charge of Counselling and Rehabilitation, Mrs Lilly Oguejiofor, the secretary said the beneficiaries were trained in hotel and catering management; fashion and design; hair dressing and cosmetology as well as computer and secretarial studies.
Jedy –Agba said that apart from the equipment, victims were given funds to help them facilitate the renting of business premises.
``I am happy to state that these ladies have recovered from different forms of abuses and exploitation against all odds and are ready to move on with their lives” she said.
The secretary said the exercise was the climax of a series of activities which commenced with the rescue operation in Mali.
The activities are sheltering, medical treatment, psychological and career counselling, family tracing and reunion as well as training.
She warned the beneficiaries that all items must be judiciously used and “not for sale” to enable them to realise their God-given potential as mothers and women.
Jedy-Agba also listed other partners as Idia Renaissance, Girl’s Power Initiative, (GPI) and Living Your Dreams Initiative.
On his part, the Edo zonal commander, Philip Dogo urged the beneficiaries to shun the antics of traffickers.
He advised them to make proper use of the items and protect them from damage.