The National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP), on Wednesday, organised a free medical outreach for 100 victims of human trafficking in Kano.
The one-day medical outreach, organised in collaboration with International Centre for Migration on Policy Development (ICMPD), was under the framework of “Strengthening Niger-Nigeria Cooperation on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, said that the outreach had become necessary in order to address issues of trauma and sexual exploitation of victims of human trafficking (VoTs).
Waziri-Azi, represented by the Director, Counseling and Rehabilitation, NAPTIP, Angela Agbayekhai, said the victims always had medical issues which might not even be known.
“The programme will enable them to get medical attention and drugs so that they can fit properly into society.
“We hope to extend the outreach to some other states,” she said.
The director-general commended ICMPD for supporting the project and advised parents and guardians not to allow their children and wards to leave Nigeria to seek for greener pasture.
“There is no place like Nigeria; it is not greener out there at all,” Waziri-Azi said.
Also speaking, the Head of Region, ICMPD, Dr Mojisola Sodeinde, said that the project was aimed at ensuring that victims of trafficking have access to medical needs while undergoing rehabilitation at the shelter for proper health care services.
“Victims of human trafficking (VoTs) are exposed to various health risks and abuses, such as sexually transmitted infection, HIV/AIDS, pelvic inflammatory disease, skin infection, psychosocial health problems, drug abuse and insomnia, among others,’’ the ICMPD chief said.
Sodeinde, represented by the Programme Assistant, ICMPD, Adeniyi Bakre, said that the outreach was also targeted at creating awareness on the ills and dangers of trafficking in persons (TIP) and other transnational-organised crimes.
Earlier, the Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Medical Association of Women Doctors, Dr Hajara Maizare-Ibrahim, said that to support and advise the victims on their health problems.
Maizare-Ibrahim, who is also a member of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kano branch, said “since health is wealth, we don’t need to be seriously ill before we seek medical advice.
“It is good to identify health issues early and seek medical advice.”
NAN reports that the victims were given welcome packs, which included bags, perfumes, slippers, towels, soap and cream, among others.
Hafsat Muhammad, who spoke on behalf of the victims, commended NAPTIP and ICMPD for their kind gestures.
“I am married and a nurse by profession. I travelled to the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) to work as a nurse because I was in need of money to cater for my family.
“After arriving in Dubai, I was told I had to work as a housemaid, which I rejected and as a result, they refused to give me accommodation. The experience was so traumatic but I thank God that I came back safely.”
Muhammad called on the government and kind-hearted individuals to assist women with empowerment to enable them become self-reliant.