Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons says the rate of human trafficking in the United States is higher than that of Nigeria.
The 2020 trafficking in persons report had placed Nigeria on a tier two watch list meaning that Nigeria failed to meet the minimum standards of compliance as regards human trafficking.
NAPTIP, however, rejected the report, insisting that Nigeria had a better track record than the US.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, said it was curious that countries from which the victims are trafficked were placed on tier two while the countries that accept these victims are given favourable reports.
Responding to a question, the NAPTIP boss said, “I am not going to lose sleep about this report because it is very curious in the sense that the destination countries who are the beneficiaries of human trafficking are mainly on tier one while the tier two are the victims.
“Most of our girls and boys are trafficked there, taxes are collected from them, they are forced into prostitution, their organs are taken off them; they are forced into domestic servitude and all of that. I have said it to them that I do not understand how America can be on tier one.
“They don’t even have an agency that fights human trafficking. Nigeria has a whole agency fighting human trafficking. In America it is left to the NGOs and how can they be on tier one? The crime of human trafficking is worse in America than even in Nigeria. So, I don’t even know the criteria.”
Okah-Donli said the report also centred on allegations that the Nigerian military was recruiting child soldiers and detaining children unjustly.
She, however, said this was false, adding that human trafficking ought to be streamlined.
“We have the Palermo Protocol and we are all signatories to that protocol. Why don’t you define human trafficking the way the Palermo Protocol defines it? Why are you bringing in extraneous matters in rating Nigeria? As far as I am concerned, Nigeria should be on tier one,” she said.