The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Makurdi Zonal Command, Benue State has arrested two suspects in connection with the sale of babies.
The command also said that within the space of six months, it had recorded about seven reported cases of trafficking involving 13 children, out of which three had been rescued.
The NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Gloria Bai, who disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen in her office on Sunday, lamented that the state was gradually becoming a hub for trafficking.
She stated that the suspects would soon be charged to court and expressed concerns over the rising cases of young girls being linked to operators of baby factories.
She said, “We have two young boys who were taken from Gboko and sold out in Lagos. The syndicate has been arrested and the case is in court, and the boys were rescued with the help of the Nigeria police.
“Traffickers have started using that opportunity, preying on the vulnerability of these young girls because some of them have been chased away from their homes after such pregnancies.
“If a girl is pregnant, that doesn’t mean the end for the girl. Parents should allow their children to open up to them and watch carefully what is happening around them because the traffickers are around and they are actually taking advantage of these young girls.
“The traffickers now are using that avenue to deceive these young girls. They take them somewhere, make them have the babies and then sell the babies. We have received so many cases.
“We know that there are cases where some of them are told that the babies were dead and they were not even paid one kobo, while others were paid some form of stipends. Right now, we have arrested two suspects who are members of the syndicate involved in luring the girls.”
Bai said the agency would intensify sensitisation to the dangers of human trafficking.
However, she appealed to government at all levels to cater to the needs of people in the rural areas so they would be able to resist the pressure of selling their babies.