The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it has discovered a new trending form of human trafficking in FCT where children are tricked and forced into begging for alms.
This was made known in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Vincent Adekoye, a Press Officer in the agency.
Adekoye quoted NAPTIP Director-General, Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi, as disclosing this in Abuja, while speaking on the efforts of the agency in tackling emerging trends of human trafficking.
The director-general said that the agency had discovered unwholesome activities of some human trafficking gangs who specialized in trafficking children and hiring them out for exploitative purposes including begging for alms.
Waziri-Azi revealed that during a routine undercover operation by operatives of the Rapid Response Unit of the agency around Abuja – Nyanya corridors, the operatives intercepted syndicates.
She said that the operatives promptly rescued three children that were allegedly rented out by their mothers to the traffickers to beg for alms at one of the busy spots in the Nyanya area for N3,000 a day per child.
“These suspected trafficking syndicates specialized in collecting babies with the connivance of other members of the gang.
“They hire out these innocent children and position them at the roadsides at busy intersections and bus stops, where they use them for alms begging.
“Their modus operandi is such that “they will detail another older child to watch over the children as they move them from one point to another and also to ensure that the proceeds of the begging is collected at intervals.
“These infants are exposed to harsh weather conditions on daily basis in a dusty and dirty environment even in the face of vehicular movement and other forms of abuse without proper feeding.
“This ugly development is one of the highest forms of cruelty as these children whose ages range between 7-9 years, are made to face life-threatening situations on daily basis,” she stressed.
The NAPTIP boss said that the agency had commenced a manhunt for members of this criminal syndicate already implicated in this act.
She warned that all those involved including parents who gave out their children for unclear purposes shall be fished out and prosecuted.
According to her, the agency has also commenced discussion with the relevant government organisations to increase vigilance within the identified black spots noted for street begging around the FCT.