By Dominic Akpan
The Comptroller of Immigration Service, Akwa Ibom State Command has disclosed that four cases of suspected human trafficking in the state have been handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, for further investigation and prosecution.
Speaking on a Radio programme in Uyo monitored by Midweek Pioneer, CIS George Didel, disclosed that the suspected human traffickers were apprehended by his men this year, and called on parents in the state to be cautious and ask questions when relatives and family friends show up with promises of job opportunities abroad for their children.
He urged parents to always come to the human trafficking and child labour unit of the service in Uyo to ask questions about promises of job opportunities abroad when such offers are made to any of their children by family members.
Explaining how the victims are recruited, Didel disclosed that the traffickers usually lure them with promises of high-paying job opportunities abroad, and the gullible will fall for it, adding that the most vulnerable are young people, particularly, the women.
‘They tell their victims stories of a wonderful life abroad. By the time they take their victims abroad, they do a different thing from what they promised, when they were recruiting them,’’ Didel said.
Giving an insight into the dangers of human trafficking, which he said range from death to human parts harvesting, sexually transmitted disease infection, the Comptroller added that anybody could be trafficked; boys and girls, as well as young and old persons, as traffickers go about with all manner of deceits.
He further disclosed that trafficked persons are sometimes used for hard labour or sexual exploitation, adding that the victims are usually forced to do what they ordinarily would not want to do.
On how the Service gets to apprehend suspected traffickers, CIS Didel disclosed that sometimes, potential victims give themselves away unconsciously during interview sessions with his men when they visit the Command for traveling documents.
‘‘In the course of the interview, we look at the age, purpose of travelling and if they say that the intention of the trip is employment; we proceed further to ask for appointment letter and who invited them. If they cannot provide the documents and prove beyond reasonable doubt, suspicion sets in and we will probe further.
‘At that point, we will ask them who the sponsor of the trip is and often, it is not even their parents. They will mention a relation or family friend and when you probe further, the story is different. They will tell you, it is my brother, aunt or sister. By the time you get those responses, the suspicion increases and you will dig deeper. Before you know it, they will start mentioning names and we will call the sponsors to come to the Command and when they do, they will have no valid reason to take those persons abroad.’’ CIS Didel said.