A 25-year-old suspected human trafficker, Comfort Anwana, was arrested on Tuesday, at a suspected human trafficking transit camp in the Ejigbo and six children were rescued.
According to Punch, her siblings, Gift, 28; and 23-year-old Blessing, who stayed with her, were also apprehended. They all hail from the Oron LGA, Akwa Ibom State.
The police team stormed the one-room apartment camp following a report from some residents of the area that Anwana illegally took custody of the children. The state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, who led the operation, noted that the camp was not an orphanage.
He said how Anwana came about the children was shrouded in mystery, adding that the command would carry out an investigation to unravel the actual activities of the centre.
However, Anwana, said the children were her nephews and nieces, adding that their fathers were dead. She said she helped their mothers to look after them, adding that the parents visited them occasionally.
A police officer said when the children were interviewed, they could not mention their surnames, adding that some of them could not mention their mothers’ names.
Recall that in November last year, nearly 500 victims of human trafficking, including 236 minors, were rescued following an INTERPOL operation carried out simultaneously across Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
One of the victims, a 16-year old Nigerian girl, was promised work in Mali which would allow her to care for her family. She was taken on by a ‘sponsor’ who then forced her into prostitution to reimburse her travel costs.
In another case, a 15-year old was in the process of being sold into forced labour by suspected traffickers and was intercepted just before the transaction could be completed. The victim was found holding a blue plastic bag containing their entire possessions.
In total, 40 suspected traffickers were arrested and faced prosecution for offences including human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation.