The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said that the agency secured 10 convictions out of over 50 cases prosecuted across the zone in 2019.
The zonal commander of Uyo Zonal office, Mr Nduka Nwawwenne, disclosed this to newsmen on the activities of the agency yesterday, in Uyo.
Nwawwenne, who assumed duty in the zone in the last quarter of 2019, said the Uyo zone comprises of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Port Harcourt.
He said that the 10 convicts of human trafficking were serving jail terms in various correctional centres across the country.
The zonal commander said that apart from the 10 convictions secured, 20 cases were currently in court at various stages of hearing while 56 cases were currently under investigation.
“For last year, we had 10 convictions, 10 human traffickers that are serving jail terms in correctional centres. The law as it is now, there is less options for fines, but you can be given a sentence and a fine at the same time.
“So, the law is very stringent now. For cases investigated, we have 56 cases that are currently under investigation. Those that were fully investigated are 20. We made many arrests last year,” Nwawwenne said.
He also informed that the agency, during the period under review, trained 18 victims and equipped 10 with starter packs. The empowerment training of victims of human trafficking by the agency, according to him, will be a continuous exercise. He however stressed that if victims were not empowered, they risk being re trafficked.
“It is important to talk about empowering victims because if we don’t empower these victims, it’s a problem, they stand the risks of being re trafficked. So, we had training and empowerment for 18 victims of human trafficking, out of those that were rescued last year.
“Over 50 victims of human trafficking were rescued. The training was for 18 of them and out of the 18 that were trained, 10 of them were properly empowered with equipment, and constantly we do monitory to avoid the equipment being sold out,” he said.
He said that the agency would continue to collaborate with stakeholders and other security agencies to ensure that human trafficking in the country was reduced to the barest minimum, adding that NAPTIP could not do it alone.