Human Trafficking: Oyo to end illegal travel agencies

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About two weeks ago, the story of an Oyo indigene, Peace Ufuoma Busari who was trafficked to Lebanon and then put up for sale on social media sent a shocking wave across the nation.

As part of the Oyo State Government’s effort to curtail such menace, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Diaspora matters, Mrs Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu has said Oyo State will begin registration in the state to curtail the spate of human trafficking being perpetrated by illegal agencies.

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Mrs Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja said,
“in Oyo State very soon, we are going to make sure no travel agency, no job agency that takes people abroad will do that until they have been registered by us.

” We have to certify and verify them to ensure they are credible agencies before they can so anything on travelling, they must all be open to the state government if they must run their travel businesses.
“We will do this by documenting them, and also call whoever they are sending abroad for confirmation and the kind of work such a person is going there to do.
” Any agency found culpable of illegal travelling will be shut down and the operator arrested and prosecuted.

She added that all the victims of human trafficking repatriated into the state would be properly counselled and those that needed to go back to school would be encouraged as well.
According to her, the state is working on the domestication of the Child Right Act, and as well strengthen the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act currently in use in the state.

She, however, advised Nigerians and Oyo citizens in particular not to see abroad as places paved with gold.
She said that if anyone must travel in the name of searching for greener pastures, such individual must go through right channel, adding that Oyo state does not frown at people travelling provided it is done genuinely.
“You are allowed to travel abroad if you want to work, however, we will not tolerate traffickers taking any of our citizens abroad to subject them to suffering, we are working hard in the state to put an end to human trafficking,” she added.
She also tasked the media to intensify awareness on the dangers of illegal migration and trafficking in order to guard against subjecting Nigerians to slavery in foreign countries.
The governor’s aide lauded the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NICOM), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for their support to Oyo state government.

Trafficking from Nigeria to other countries has been a complex and serious phenomenon at the center of which have always been some illegal travel syndicates.

The International Organization for Migration believes that hundreds if not thousands of Nigerians—the majority of whom are women—are trafficked out of the country every year, often across the continent. Of the 20,500 Nigerian survivors of exploitation helped by the IOM since 2017, some 90% needed to be brought home from Libya. Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) identified 20,000 trafficked Nigerian women in Mali in 2019 alone. Bringing travel and job agencies under the radar of government watch and control has Oyo state is set to do is a welcome development.

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