On Wednesday, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) announced that it had freed three infants who were allegedly being used as alms dogs by their mothers in exchange for N3,000 per day.
The infants, who were between the ages of seven and nine months, were saved by NAPTIP’s Rapid Response Unit, which had stopped their traffickers at busy intersections in the Nyanya neighborhood of Abuja.
The agency’s Director-General, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, made this disclosure in Abuja while speaking to stakeholders about the agency’s efforts to combat some emerging trends of human trafficking and other related crimes across the country, according to a statement signed by Vincent Adekoye, the press officer for NAPTIP.
“NAPTIP alerts on recurring form of trafficking for begging, commits to prosecuting parents found culpable,” reads the statement.’
NAPTIP also alerted the FCT residents to 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.