The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP), has called on the Labanese government to unconditionally release the ten remaining trafficked victims currently held in their custody.
The ten Nigerian girls according to NAPTIP were victims of human trafficking deboarded by the Lebanese authorities at the last minut0e and could not return with their compatriots back to the country.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, NAPTIP Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli said that the girls were supposed to be among the 69
evacuated by the federal government last week from the Middle East country.
” I also wish to use this opportunity to appeal to the Lebanese government to release 10 of the victims of trafficking who were deboarded at the last minute and could not return with their compatriots on May 24.
“We have recieved calls from them that they have been held in prison for crimes that border on breach of contract and trumped up charges of stealing. We request that these young Nigerians should be released unconditionally and returned home”, Okah-Donli said.
While reacting to comments by Mr. Houssam Diab, the Ambassador of Lebanon to Nigeria that none of the returnees was a victim of human trafficking, the NAPTIP boss said that it was necessary to set the records straight.
She further presented the ugly picture of the plight of many young nigerian women trapped in domestic servitude in Labanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
She said, “Specifically, concerning Lebanon, NAPTIP has recieved not less than 50 distress calls from Nigerian women crying for rescue and return home because of the inhuman conditions in which they are made to work.
“They complain that they are made to work for a minimum of 18 hours per day. Mostly on their feet, cleaning large houses, washing and doing other menial and hazardous Jobs such as climbing ladders to clean outside windows.
” In addition, many of them are serially raped by the men of the house with the co connivance of the women, and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatments. Indeed they are called slaves.
” we have on our records detailed information on the complaints of these Nigerians such as maltreatment, long hours of work, nonpayment of wages and sexual exploitation.
“Cruel condition of work, illness, reduction of salaries, outright sale to third party”.
She commended the Nigeian Ambassador to Lebanon, Goni Modu Zanna Bura for his support in the fight against human trafficking.