A Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) has raised the alarm that over 250, 000 young Nigerian boys and girls are currently undergoing various forms of exploitations including sexual and labour in different places in Mali.
The National President of the network, Mr. AbduGaniyu Abubakar who made the disclosure on Sunday, in Abuja, however called on the federal government and other relevant authorities including civil groups to do everything humanly possible to rescue them.
He was speaking shortly after the arrival of 15 females and a three years old boy, who were victims of human trafficking rescued from Mali arrived the Abuja International Airport.
The victims who were sexually exploited in various mining sites in Mali were between the ages of 18 and 25 years and have spent around five years in captivity until their rescue recently.
According to the NACTAL President, the victims had escaped from their captors and took solace in the shelter of some NGOs working against human trafficking, sexual, child abuse and labour in Mali.
Meanwhile, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP), who brought the children back to the country, reassured that the agency would continue to do its best to rescue Nigerians trafficked for sexual and labour exploitations wherever they may be in the world.
Head of NAPTIP’s Intelligent and International Cooperation Unit, Angela Agbayekhai, warned that Mali is not a greener pasture, adding that the country is fast assuming the status of a destination country for sexual exploitation and child labour.
According to her the agency was pursuing the rescue of over 20,000 trafficked to Mali for sexual exploitation.
Meanwhile, one of the victims (names withheld), while lamenting their ordeals in Mali advised young girls to be wary of big promises of prosperity outside Nigeria.
She claimed to have been deceived by a friend to embark on a greener pastures journey not knowing that she was being taken captive into sexual exploitation.
The three years old boy belonged to one of the victims. The child was born there in Mali and she had to carry him along while escaping from her captors.
Alex Enumah in Abuja