Thursday, June 8, 2023

Traffickers exploiting Nigerian women in Iraq: NAPTIP

Fatima Waziri-Azi, NAPTIP director-general, says Nigerian women working in Iraq are exploited in diverse ways.

• May 4, 2023
Fatima Waziri-Azi, the director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)
Fatima Waziri-Azi, the director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)

Fatima Waziri-Azi, the director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), says Nigerian women working in Iraq are exploited in diverse ways.

The NAPTIP boss disclosed this in a statement while speaking on the plight of young women, saying that most of them worked as domestic workers in Iraq and were exploited daily.

Ms Waziri-Azi said most of the young Nigeria women were now requesting assistance to return home.

She explained that NAPTIP was investigating several rogue labour recruiters who had been reported to be big players in the massive recruitment of Nigerians to Iraq for domestic servitude.

The NAPTIP also mentioned that awareness by the agency and other partners of the well-known destination countries across the globe had now made traffickers shift their 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 homes by their recruiters to a hard life of domestic servitude,” stated Ms Waziri-Azi.

She added, “Available information shows that many of these victims have been admitted to hospital many times due to long work hours under harsh conditions they are forced to undergo. Most of them have complained of deteriorating health resulting from the weight of work.”

The NAPTIP explained that they “are constantly under threat of being harmed either by their direct employers or the Iraqi agents, each time they complained of unbearable workload.”

She added, “Many of them have no access to their phones because their phones are seized immediately they are paired with an employer. They are never allowed out of the premises where they are serving, and even when communication is established with them for rescue, they cannot give details of their location.”

The anti-trafficking agency boss stated that the situation was scary, adding that the workload imposed on the vulnerable by their taskmasters was worrisome.

Mr Waziri-Azi stated that Nigerian women were constantly sexually harassed by members of the household where they were serving, which aggravated their situation.

She called on Nigerians to be cautioned of this desperate quest to travel out of the country for greener pastures, adding that it was why many Nigerians wanted to travel.

The NAPTIP director-general stated that many Nigerian women had fallen prey to traffickers and the lies of labour recruiters who promised them juicy jobs overseas.

She stressed the need for people to evaluate every offer that came their way carefully and seek second and third opinions before accepting such offers outside the country.

She said, “If a sponsor facilitates your travel, you will be forced to do any job to pay off your sponsor before earning money for yourself.”


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