The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has said it rescued three babies who were rented out by their mothers for alms begging.
On Wednesday, the agency stated that its Rapid Response Unit rescued the babies aged between seven and nine months, after intercepting their traffickers at busy spots around the Nyanya area of Abuja.
According to a statement signed by NAPTIP’s Press Officer, Vincent Adekoye, the Director-General of the agency, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, disclosed this in Abuja while addressing stakeholders about its efforts in tackling some emerging trends of human trafficking and other associated crimes nationwide.
NAPTIP also alerted the residents of the FCT about the new trend adding that it was now hunting for the syndicate involved.
Waziri-Azi revealed that during a routine undercover operation by NAPTIP’s RRU around the Abuja – Nyanya corridors, the operatives “intercepted the syndicate and promptly rescued three children all under the age of one 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 for each child rented out.
“These suspected trafficking syndicate specialised in collecting babies with the connivance of other members of the gang, hire out these innocent children and position them at the roadsides at busy intersections and bus stops, where they use them for alms begging.
“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 were collected at intervals.
“These infants are exposed to harsh weather conditions on a daily basis in a dusty and dirty environment even in the face of vehicular movement and other forms of abuse without proper feeding,” she explained.
She added that the ugly development was one of the highest forms of cruelty as these children were made to face life-threatening situations daily.
The DG warned that all those involved including parents who gave out their children for unclear purposes shall be identified and prosecuted.
She said NAPTIP had also commenced discussions with the relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to increase vigilance within the identified black spots noted for street begging around the FCT.