The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons has arrested a 26-year-old man, Uyi Osawanuyi, for his alleged involvement in human trafficking in Benin, Edo State.
NAPTIP also rescued a female victim said to be four months pregnant for the suspected trafficker.
Osawanuyi was said to have recruited the victim and three others in January with the promise to take them to Europe.
He was also said to have sold the victims to an unknown person in Niger Republic and forced them to engage in prostitution.
The Benin Zonal Commander of the agency, Mr. Nduka Nwanwenne, who confirmed the arrest on Wednesday, said that two of Osawanuyi’s accomplices had earlier been arrested by the police in Niger and subsequently convicted.
Nwanwenne explained, “On arrival at Airlit, Niger Republic, the suspect sold one of the girls to a madam and demanded various sums of money after introducing them to one MJC Club.
“At a point, the suspect returned to Nigeria to recruit more girls after he allegedly instructed the first arrivals to pay all monies realised to the owner of the house he rented for them, which he claimed would be remitted to him on return from Nigeria.
“During the exploitation, one of the victims escaped and reported the matter to the police in Niger Republic. Consequently, two of the accomplices were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment after the victims testified against them.”
According to him, the suspect, whom he said had tested positive to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, was later arrested, while the victims were rescued with support from International Organisation for Migration.
He, however, added that the suspect would be arraigned in court.
Nwanwenne noted, “The suspect, who had earlier travelled and stayed in Morocco for four years, had earlier tested positive to HIV, for which he is currently accessing anti-retroviral drugs. Yet, he dated the victim, who is pregnant, without caution.
“When confronted by operatives of the agency, the suspect claimed that the pregnant victim preferred to have sex without a condom.”