The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons in Akwa Ibom says it recorded 1,300 cases of human trafficking in the state between October and December.
The NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Festus Gav, disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Frank Archibong, in Uyo on Tuesday.
Gav, who restated the agency’s commitment to tackling trafficking in persons in the state, urged members of the pubic to continue to support the agency with useful information.
He expressed worries over what he called the rising cases of criminal activities in the state and its attendant danger to the culture and values of the people, saying that this was fast eroding the people’s peaceful disposition and culture of hospitality.
“Out of the number of trafficked persons in the state, 500 are indigenes, while 49 persons have been so far convicted out of the about 900 ongoing cases.
“We must all work together to tackle this trend. As for us, we are committed towards ensuring that trafficking is stamped out,” he said.
The commander further stated that the agency had rehabilitated 22 persons who had fallen victim to trafficking in persons and rape.
He identified lack of awareness and enlightenment as the major causes of the rise in cases of child trafficking and sexual violence in the state.
“We commend the state government for its support, especially the donation of land for NAPTIP’s permanent office in the state,” he said.
Responding, Archibong expressed displeasure with the alarming rate of trafficking in persons and other forms of crime in the state.
He stressed the need for stakeholders’ collaboration towards tackling the rising wave of crime in the state.
“We commend NAPTIP for its efforts at tackling child trafficking. As government, we are always prepared to partner other stakeholders to ensure better services to our people,” he said.