The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has raised the alarm over mass recruitment of unskilled Nigerians to gulf countries under pretence as new dimension of trafficking.
NAPTIP Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli, said this new form of human trafficking, as well as poor funding and non-release of funds were big challenges to the agency.
Okah-Donli stated this during a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja to present him with a report on human trafficking.
The report highlights challenges and possible solutions.
She said, “The new dimension now which is giving all of us serious headache, is this mass recruitment to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Dubai, Egypt and so on, by agents under the guise of providing employment, as in house-helps and nurses to the Saudi Arabian nationals.
“And of course, you and I know that there is a lot of sexual exploitation going on because most of the times, even for those who are actually doing house work, they are always sexually abused by the masters of the house.”
The NAPTIP boss, however, said the agency was working with the Ministry of Justice to update current labour laws to serve as a check on emigration of unskilled workers.
Okah-Donli also disclosed that NAPTIP would collaborate with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to train Nigerian Foreign Service officers to expose them to the ills and realities of human trafficking.
She said state government were not doing enough to assist the agency with regards to provision of shelter and food to victims deported back to the country.
The minister assured NAPTIP of collaborating with embassies to stop issuance of visas to under-aged persons.
Onyeama told the NAPTIP boss of the ongoing work on regularisation and harmonisation of labour laws between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He said the ministry was working towards convening a meeting of all stakeholders; the Ministries of Labour, Justice, Youth and NAPTIP for further deliberations on the issue.