Lebanese arrested as NAPTIP rescues 2 victims of trafficking

The operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons have rescued two Nigerian trafficked victims from Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon.

The Agency also arrested a Lebanese for allegedly aiding the trafficking of the victims.

This is coming barely two months after the rescue of the much-publicized victim of trafficking from Lebanon, a statement by Mr Adekoye Vincent, Press and Public Relations Unit of NAPTIP, said on Sunday in Abuja.

He noted that the two victims were rescued from their taskmasters and brought back to Nigeria within 72 hours after their plights were brought to the attention of the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli.

“The development came on the heel of the commendations from cross-sections of International Partners, stakeholders and members of Civil Society organizations both within and outside the Country who hailed the prompt response of the Federal Government of Nigeria and particularly the swift rescue mechanism of NAPTIP to the ordeal of the trafficked victims,” he said.

It would be recalled that after the much-publicized case of the Kwara State-born victim of human trafficking (Name withheld) who was rescued and brought back to Nigeria in January 2020, the Agency has rescued three other victims and also arrested some suspects including a Lebanese in connection with the incidents.

According to the Lagos Zonal Commander of the Agency, Mr Daniel Atokolo who coordinated the rescue operation, “the agency received a distress call concerning the two Nigerian girls (names withheld).

The first victim that hails from Oyo State (name withheld) is a Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) Certificate holder and was trafficked to Beirut in September 2019 while the second victim who hails from Ebonyi State is a salesgirl in Lagos before she was deceived and trafficked to Beirut in September 2019.

Vincent in the statement said: “Both victims travelled by air as their visas and other travelling documents were procured by the suspect.

“Upon the receipt of the information, the Director-General gave a directive that both of them must be rescued immediately.

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“With the support of our partners in Lebanon and the Staff of the Nigeria Embassy in Beirut, they were rescued within 24 hours and we are happy that they are in Nigeria at the moment.

“The Agency also arrested a Lebanese in connection with the incident while another suspect, David, believed to have played a major role in the recruitment of the victims is now at large.

“Both victims are presently undergoing counselling while the Agency has commenced a manhunt for the suspect that is at large,” he said.

Reacting to the development, a stakeholder and member of Civil Society organization based in Europe, Mr Denis Knot, lauded the swift response by NAPTIP describing it as a “commendable life-saving strategy”.

He commended the synergy between NAPTIP and other partners in the fight against human trafficking and sued for its sustenance.

In her response, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah – Donli, said the Government of Nigeria has demonstrated a serious commitment towards the eradication of human trafficking in the country through NAPTIP, thereby meeting the minimum global standard of compliance.

She called on parents to desist from mounting pressure on their wards and forcing them to travel abroad without any skill rather they should re-direct their attention to the abounding potentials in the country.

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