Travel agencies and tour operators across Nigeria have been accused of engaging in organ trafficking while giving owners of private shelters offering services for trafficked persons in Nigeria a 30-day ultimatum to obtain their clearance certificates.
The ultimatum, which takes effect on Wednesday, was handed down by NAPTIP director-general Fatima Waziri-Azi in Abuja.
The director-general disclosed that NAPTIP was closing in on travel agents and tour operators involved in the recruitment of Nigerians for labor outside the country.
She accused the agencies of trafficking children overseas to engage in different forms of labor without obtaining the requisite clearance certificates from NAPTIP.
She explained that many hid under the façade of being a travel agents, tour operators or recruiter of labour to deceive, defraud, and lure naïve victims to foreign countries for the purpose of exploiting them.
Ms Waziri-Azi said some of the children experienced sexual exploitation, forced labor, debt bondage, slavery and that organs of some of these children are removed.
The ultimatum is based on the powers given to the agency under the Trafficking in Persons (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations 2019 and the resolve of the agency to give more effect to it after the grace period earlier given to the organisations to comply has expired.
“This legislation was necessitated by the disturbing cases of trafficking in persons by Nigerians. Trafficking activities are done under the guise of education, cultural and musical excursions; labour migration; and sporting related travels to foreign countries, especially the Middle East, Eastern, and Central Europe,” stated Ms Waziri-Azi.
She stated that the trafficking in person (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations, 2019, was in place to ensure that labour recruitment, travel agents, tour operations and operators of shelters and rehabilitation homes operate within the ambit of law.