Edo reads riot act to child traffickers

EDO State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe has warned that anybody who hires children below 12 years as domestic worker risks being jailed for between six months and 12 years.

Mrs Omoregbe who spoke in Benin on Monday while parading two women who allegedly engaged in child trafficking, abuse and modern-day slavery of teenagers, explained that recruiting and receiving any child or adult for the purpose of labour is a crime.

She said that violators of the act are punishable upon conviction with a five-year jail term and a fine of N5 million.

Nigerian Tribune reports that the two suspects, Mrs Martina Oziegbe, Mrs Grace Idehen, however, maintained that they were ignorant of the act, insisting that they never knew that receiving a child for domestic work was an offence and liable on conviction.

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For being first time offenders, the attorney general said that the two suspects will be pardoned but warned that, henceforth, culprits will not be spared, adding that the state task force which nabbed the two women was empowered to arrest, investigate and prosecute child traffickers.

She said: “It is an offence to employ, recruit, harbour, transport, receive or hire out a child under the age of 12 years as a domestic worker. Many of these children that are hired as domestic workers are under the ages of 12 and it is not allowed.”

Mrs Omoregbe continued: “Anybody who does this commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a minimum of six months and not exceeding seven years.

“Anybody who requests, recruits, transports, harbours, receives or hire out a person to be used for forced labour, within or outside Edo State, or permits any place or premises to be used for forced labour, commits an offence and is liable.”

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