The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Tolu Akande-Sadipe, has disclosed that about eighty thousand Nigerians were currently held as sex slaves and in forced labour across the world, in countries.
According to her, the practice is rife in Lebanon, Mali and across the Middle East. Akande-Sadipe, who blamed the Ministries of Foreign Affairs as well as Labour and Employment, said young Nigerian girls were subjected to modern-day slavery, sexual exploitation and organ harvesting, among others.
She also noted that the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the pretext of diplomacy, was working towards the release a Lebanese trafficker, Wafic Mohammed Hamze, apprehended by National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons who was complicit in the trafficking of sixteen girls to Lebanon.
“Records show that Wafic Hamza was complicit in the trafficking of 16 girls, 10 of whom have been repatriated back to Nigeria, while the rest remain stranded in Lebanon.
‘’Hamza is currently in custody in Ilorin, Kwara State, awaiting trial for trafficking but it appears that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the guise of diplomacy, is working for the release of the said trafficker without any regard for our citizens’ losses, their repatriation back home and compensation,’’ she lamented. Besides, Sadipe lamented increasing cases of abuse and dehumanization of Nigerians abroad, especially in nations with long history of cordial relationship with Nigeria.
She said: “The current and ongoing sordid dehumanizing treatments foisted on Nigerians abroad particularly trafficked girls under the cover of foreign domestic staff has become very disturbing.
‘’According to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in the past one year, there has been an alarming number of daily distress calls from Nigerian women crying to be rescued due to the inhumane conditions they face in various parts of the Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Oman and Lebanon and Mali (with Lebanon, Oman and Mali being top on the list).’’
Akande-Sadipe called for emergency Legislative intervention in the eradication of trafficking in persons, stoppage of dehumanizing treatment of Nigerians abroad and the repatriation of stranded citizens.