Mr Arinze Orakwe, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)’s director of public enlightenment, says there are over 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes in Italy.
Orakwe made the comment while delivering a speech on behalf of the director-general of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli at a conference for action on illegal migration and trafficking, organised by Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) in Abuja on Monday, June 10.
The event was themed: Strengthening a Multi-Stakeholder Partnership and Creating Cooperation in Curbing Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking.
According to him, there are also over 20,000 Nigerian girls in Mali preparing to cross over to Italy through the deserts and seas.
Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the event, Orakwe said: “We have reports from our partners in Italy, we have reports from NGOs working there, and the numbers are staggering, not just Italy, even in Austria. Even if it is one person, it is bad enough.”
Asked on how NAPTIP will partner with NYPF to address the issue, Orakwe said: “Our concern right now is to keep this conversation, since they are willing and ready to bring them back and hand them over to us and we would train them, and that’s a good way going forward.
“We are going to be sending the report of this engagement to government that NYPF has the facility, in the event of Nigerians wherever they come back from, to take care of them.
“Because the problem is that NAPTIP is the only law enforcement agency that rehabilitates victims of crime. No other law enforcement agency does that and it is costing us a lot of money.
“We will do with any help anyone can give and NYPF has offered that they will do that and we will support them.
“But, we are asking the governors to please help. These children are from one community in a local government of a state. So, why won’t governors build skill acquisition centres? So let’s begin to invest in these areas because that’s a clear path in making sure of solving our problems.”
Speaking earlier, the convener of NYPF, Mr Moses Siloko Siasia, said the bad economy in the country had led many skilled Nigerians to travel out and become slaves in foreign lands.
He also said the margin of the take-home difference by workers leaving abroad and in Nigeria, “is high, that is why Nigerians want to leave the country.”
He further said he would lunch a tracker project called (C.P) to help monitor repatriated returnees to have a better future.
“When they drop them (returnees) at the airport, nobody cares what they later do in life, everyone just moves on and forgets the victims.
“We are going to monitor and train them in a vocation in the next five years. We are going to bring them out to showcase what they have been able to achieve from the initiative,” he said.