The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is deeply concerned about the maltreatment of young Nigerian women who do domestic jobs in Iraq.
NAPTIP’s Director-General, Professor Fatima Waziri-Azi, who expressed the agency’s concerns in Abuja, announced that NAPTIP was currently investigating several rogue labour recruiters who have been reported to be big players in the massive recruitment of Nigerians to Iraq to serve as domestic workers.
Professor Waziri-Azi said: “Because of the proactive activities and collaborative efforts of NAPTIP and its partners in raising awareness around issues of human trafficking to some of the known destination countries, traffickers have now shifted attention to Iraq.
“We are inundated with pleas for rescue and repatriation from female victims trafficked to Iraq, especially to the cities of Baghdad and Basra where they are distributed to various homes by their recruitment agents to a hard life of domestic servitude.”
The NAPTIP chief said investigations had already exposed most of these victims, as some have been admitted to hospitals many times due to long work hours, under harsh conditions.
Professor Waziri-Azi added: “Many of them have no access to their phones because their phones are seized immediately they are paired with an employer.
“Asides the workload imposed on them by their taskmasters, they are constantly being sexually harassed by members of the household where they are serving, aggravating their situation.”
Professor Waziri-Azi, however, stressed the need for people to evaluate every offer carefully and seek for second and third opinions before accepting offers outside the country.
She assured Nigerians that NAPTIP would continue to work with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the country as well as its international partners to ensure the safe return of the victims from Iraq.
Reporting by Gwamkat Gwamzhi; Editing by Tersoo Nicholas and Tony Okerafor