By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is making arrangement to introduce “Traffic in Persons (TIP)’’ subject into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools.
Mrs Ebele Ulasi, Assistant Director, Public Enlightenment, NAPTIP, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja, that NAPTIP was collaborating with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) on the proposal.
“The aim of this proposal is to create awareness among children of school age.
“We are working in collaboration with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to try to get this done.
“We are doing this because part of the mandate of NAPTIP is to create awareness, sensitise the masses on the prevalence and dangers associated with human trafficking.
“In taking up these challenges, we keep looking for sustainable means of creating permanent awareness, especially for children under the ages of 18.
“Eventually, NAPTIP felt the need to infuse TIP into primary and secondary schools curriculum because these are the group most vulnerable to human trafficking.
“We are already at the final stage of introducing this TIP subject into the curriculum; hopefully, it will come into operation this year,’’ Ulasi said.
She said that when the subject was fully adopted by schools, there would be sustainable awareness on human trafficking.
The agency official said that when every child of primary and secondary school age in Nigeria was aware of the dangers in human trafficking, it would be difficult for traffickers to deceive them.
“Remember that knowledge is power and that is why we are going through the method of putting it in the schools’ curriculum.
“This is to give them knowledge about what human trafficking is and the strategies and methods used by traffickers to lure people.
“By the time they are aware of these, we will not be having a lot of victims of human trafficking,’’ she said.
On the alleged oath of secrecy administered by human traffickers on their victims, Ulasi said it was a challenge to the activities of the agency.
She said that the agency has been collaborating with security personnel to demystify the action and has secured over 333 convictions since its inception.
According to Ulasi, these traffickers take their victims through what they call `oath of secrecy’ to stop them from talking or giving out information about the traffickers.
“It is a challenge because the victims are meant to believe that if they talk or give information about the traffickers, they will either run mad or die.
“Most times, the traffickers threaten to wipe out the entire members of the victim’s family, if they expose them.
“So, when a little child has been taken through this oath of secrecy, it will be difficult for such a child to talk.
“Moreover, it is worthwhile to know that the only valid evidence or witness to use against a trafficker is the victim,’’ the NAPTIP boss said.
However, Ulasi told NAN that NAPTIP had done a lot to demystify such oaths.
The official said that the agency had attacked some identified shrines in collaboration with security personnel working with the agency.
She said that most of the shrines where they take these children through the oath of secrecy are located in Edo.
“When those juju priests that administered the oath to them were arrested and brought to NAPTIP, we demystified the oath-taking; this explains that the juju priests are mere human beings.
“After that incident, most of the victims started talking; so far, we have over 333 convictions,’’ Ulasi said.