Operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in a joint operation with officers from the Nigeria Police Force, busted a human trafficking gang in the nation’s capital, Abuja. During the operation, which took place Thursday night at the Kubwa Axis of Abuja, 11 girls were rescued while 4 suspected human traffickers were arrested. The Hotel where the girls were harboured: Thales Guest House (A.K.A 33) located at Pipeline Area in Kubwa, Abuja was also sealed up.
The raid followed an intelligence report about the place being used for underage and exploitative prostitution. Intense surveillance was mounted by officers of the Agency which led to the arrest of four suspects: Onyinyechi Osuoha-32 years old, Nkechi Chukwuma- 37years old, Sandra Chi- 32 years old, and 27-year-old Favour James during the raid.
In accordance with sections 43 and 52 of the Trafficking In Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015, which authorises NAPTIP to enter, search and seal up properties suspected to be used for human trafficking purposes, Thales Guest House, Kubwa, was sealed off pending further investigations.
Preliminary findings revealed that the suspects often lure the victims, who are underage girls, from various parts of the country with promises of employment in the Federal Capital Territory. However, upon their arrival at Abuja, they are put to work at the Guest House, serving the clients and thereafter introduced to prostitution, at the end of which the suspects collect the money paid to them.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, reacting to the news of the raid and arrests, commended the officers for a smooth operation. She also lauded the collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Police Force, which she described as a “true proof of strong partnership between the two law enforcement organisations, aimed at ridding the society of ills such as this”.
The NAPTIP Boss also sent a strong warning to operators of brothels who use underage girls as prostitutes to desist from such acts, as the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 criminalises the sexual exploitation of minors, in any form.
She further enjoined members of the public to report such establishments to NAPTIP, as they are not only immoral and an abuse of human rights, but also a criminal act that is punishable by law.
Dame Julie Okah-Donli added that “young girls should either be in school or learn skills that will enable them be empowered as functional members of the society, not holed up in brothels to be sexually exploited by human traffickers”.
She concluded by saying that the suspects will definitely be charged to Court and prosecuted accordingly, on completion of investigations.