Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Mrs Nnena Aji, South-East Zonal Commander of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), says early reporting of cases of Child Trafficking could help in curbing the menace.
She said this on Tuesday in an interview with the Ikengaonline in reaction to the Octobrr 5, 2022 incidence of child abuse in Anambra State.
She recalled the arrest of a 37-year old female suspect in Awka on the said date by NAPTIP Anambra State Command for an offence of Child Abuse, inflicting grievous harm on a child, an offence prohibited in Human Trafficking Act.
According to her; “the suspect named, Mrs Udeogu Chinelo, was arrested by NAPTIP operatives in a primary school in Awka where she had earlier enrolled the victim and had gone to collecting back the school fees she paid for the victim.
“While being questioned on the whereabouts of the victim, she disclosed that the victim had died,” she said.
She said that upon further interrogation the suspect led the operatives of NAPTIP to the scene where she had disposed the body of the victim.
“On arriving the scene, the victim’s decomposing body was found wrapped in a black nylon bag where the suspect dumped her in the bush around Hezekiah Dike Crescent Awka,” she said.
She said the incident should awaken the consciousness of everyone including appropriate authorities to the need for early reporting and intervention in the protection of children from all forms of abuse.
The commander said that child abuse has assumed a frightening dimension in the south-East, adding that it has reached a crisis point which must be urgently addressed without further delay.
“Children are the most vulnerable in any society as they find it difficult to express themselves and are easily scared hence the need for better protection measures for them.
“Neighbours, schools, churches, relatives and the general public should report any suspected case of abuse of any kind upon a child immediately to prevent dire consequences such as permanent disabilities (mental and physical) and even death.
“Early reporting of cases of child maltreatment and abuse would translate to timeous intervention by appropriate authorities,” she said.
According to her, suspects could be issued warnings, monitored, arrested and prosecuted depending on the gravity of abuse meted on the child.
She also said that child domestics were more often than not subjected to all manners of abuse by their masters.
“They are treated as slaves, dehumanised, physically, mentally and psychologically abused which has led to irreversible and irreparable damage,” she said.
Aji said that early reporting of cases will help rescue children from abusive situations and eventually save lives.
She also urged members of the public to report any suspected case of child abuse, child labour and trafficking in persons early to appropriate authorities and NAPTIP for quick and timely intervention.