By Ese Awhotu with agency report
One hundred and forty five children have been rescued from traffickers in Plateau state, the Police has said.
The Plateau Police Command said yesterday that it had intercepted two trucks conveying 145 children, aged between four to eight years.
The command, in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Terna Tyopev, said that the children, who were being transported from Bauchi and Jigawa states, were to be shared to Plateau, Kaduna and Nasarawa states.
Tyopev said that the command was liaising with the Plateau chapter of Jama’atul Nasril Islam and other critical stakeholders, to establish contact with the two state governments for the return of the children to their parents.
The statement said that the police would soon charge those behind the action to court to serve as a deterrent to others.
“This trend, if not checked, will cause embarrassment to Plateau, north central and the nation at large,” the statement said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the command, while pleading with members of the public to be vigilant and report the presence of strange children within their environs, condemned the negative trend where minors were being moved around to unknown destinations.
It urged members of the public to continue to cooperate with the force so as to rid the society of such negative tendencies
Data emanating from UNICEF indicates that the trafficking of children for the purpose of domestic service, prostitution and other forms of exploitative labour is a widespread phenomenon in Nigeria.
In view of the clandestine nature of trafficking, accurate and reliable figures are hard to get. Globally, child trafficking is one of the fastest growing organised crimes with an estimated 1.2 million victims per year, of which 32% are African.
Recent surveys show that an estimated 15 million children engaged in child labour in Nigeria with 40% of them at the risk of being trafficked both internally and externally for domestic and forced labour, prostitution, entertainment, parnography, armed conflict, and sometimes ritual killings.
According to UNICEF, Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for child trafficking. Currently, external trafficking of children exists between Nigeria and Gabon, Cameroon,
Analysts and other stakeholders have however, expressed dismay that child trafficking within states in the country is taking an unimaginable proportion.