The Benin Zonal Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says no fewer than 350 survivors of human trafficking were rescued between January and December 2018.
Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, the Benin Zonal Commander who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Tuesday, said the zone comprises Edo and Delta.
Nwanwenne also said that within the period under review, the zonal command arrested about 57 suspected human traffickers.
He said that while the zonal command secured four convictions within the period, 35 other cases were still pending in courts while the Court of Appeal upheld one conviction.
Nwanwenne said in line with her commitment to support and enhance the operational activities of the NAPTIP, its Director General, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, joined the zone in its sensitisation programme at the Warri Main Market.
He also attributed the successes recorded in the zone to proactive and sustained efforts through aggressive awareness campaign.
Nwanwenne said the prosecution of human traffickers, which was enhanced by the designation of two specialised courts for cases by the Edo Government, was another factor.
“The protection of victims of human trafficking through care, psycho social support and reintegration programmes and partnership with critical stakeholders to curtail the menace was another reason for the successes recorded,” he said.
The zonal commander, however, said that some of the challenges faced by the agency was the unwillingness of some victims to testify in court in pending cases.
He also said that there was need to upgrade the courts with modern technology to expedite cases and ensure capacity building of judicial officers.
“Pressure from parents on their wards to go and make money abroad, ignorance and illiteracy that gold can be picked on the streets of Europe and unfettered access and negative use of social media by victims are other challenges,” he said.