Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said on Tuesday that it was reaching out to the United Nations and authorities in Italy to identify and prosecute the traffickers behind the deaths of 26 Nigerian women on the Italian coast city of Salerno.
NAPTIP Director of Press and Public Relations, Josiah Emerole, disclosed this yesterday in a release, noting that the statistics of deaths of Nigerians, which had occurred as a result of illegal migration on the Mediterranean Sea, ran into thousands.
Emerole said that the deaths were one of the negative effects of embarking on “desperate, dangerous and illegal journeys in the guise of seeking for greener pastures abroad.”
He added, “Our agency is pained by this occurrence which has cut short the lives of our young women in their prime in suspicious circumstances.
“The deaths are untimely and unwarranted. We have mounted awareness campaigns against human trafficking and illegal migration and have consistently persuaded our citizens from embarking on life-threatening journeys through the desert and the Mediterranean Sea that can end up in organ harvesting, forced prostitution, domestic servitude, forced begging and death.
“We call for a high-level investigation by the United Nations Organisation on this incident. We need to know the identities of the owners of the rickety boats that carry people along the sea, so that they could be prosecuted appropriately. We will also engage the Italian authorities on this, with a view to knowing the Nigerians involved and applying the laws against them.”
It had been reported on Monday that the remains of 26 Nigerian women believed to be migrants were recovered from a Spanish warship, Cantabria, which docked in Salerno, and was found to be carrying 375 rescued migrants and the dead women.
The spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Marco Rotunno, had said the 26 dead Nigerians were involved in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya.