NIGERIA: 62 children found hidden in lorry

[LAGOS, 17 July 2007] Edo State Police Command have intercepted a container loaded with 62 children. They are suspected victims of human trafficking.

The container, which was being carried by a Mercedes Benz lorry, was sealed up and thought to be heading for a neighbouring country through Shagamu, Ogun State.

Edo State has become an established route for human trafficking in recent years. 

Records suggest ten children, especially girls, are being smuggled out of the state daily.

Illegal operators come to the state to obtain necessary transport papers.

Addressing newsmen in his office in Benin city, Edo State police commissioner, Mr. Bala Hassan, said police were hopeful of solving the case since victims were from the same area and were headed for the same destination.

His official statment read: "On Sunday, July 15, 2007, at about 3.00pm, a Lagos-bound Mercedes Benz lorry loaded with 62 suspected victims of human trafficking from Ebi-Iwango Wanihem Village in Yala local government area of Cross River state was intercepted at the Ekiadolor point of Benin-Ore Expressway and the drivers were brought down for interrogation. The Mercedes Benz was meant for conveying goods and not human beings".

Victims 'looking for jobs'

Mr. Hassan also read out some of the names of the victims.

During interrogation, some of the victims said they were going to Shagamu at Ijebu Ode to look for jobs.

"I want to go and look for job at Shagamu. That is why I am going to Shagamu. I have not been there before but I want to go there," one of the victims said.

Hassan said the Command would hand over the victims to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Human trafficking (NAPTIP) for further action.

Further information

pdf: http://allafrica.com/stories/200707170004.html

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