The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has threatened to clampdown on operators of hospitality and recreation centres across the country using underage for sexual services.
The Director-General, NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, gave the warning at a strategic meeting with some of the agency’s partners on Thursday in Abuja.
She explained that the provisions of the “Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015,’’ prohibits the harbouring of any person under the age of 18 years in such places.
She warned that any hotel, brothel or recreation facility that runs afoul of this law will not be spared by the law.
“The trafficking in Persons Act 2015 is very clear on this and we will not allow the abuse and exploitation of our children in hotels, brothels and other recreation facilities across the country to continue unabated.
“Our children should at this age be in schools to learn and develop properly and not be in hotels and brothels being used as sex objects by criminals.
“We will engage our sister law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance and anyone found culpable will face the music, as we must implement this law to the letter irrespective of who the owners of such facilities may be,’’ she said.
The NAPTIP boss added that operatives of the agency have been detailed to commence spontaneous raid of suspected brothels and other questionable relaxation centres suspected of harbouring children.
She noted that the intended operation would not only set those innocent children free, but prosecuting the operators.
Okah-Donli said that it was unacceptable a situation where promising female children of Nigeria would be used to satisfy the immoral appetite of their customers.
She cautioned those in the habit of keeping under-aged children in brothels and other exploitative areas to let them regain their freedom or would be dealt with accordingly.
“Available intelligence indicated that hundreds of relaxation centres and brothels that were not registered with Nigeria Tourism Development Board or any other regulatory government institutions are operating presently.
“And keeping hundreds of our girls and even boys in some cases as money making ventures, sexually exploiting them on daily basis,” she said.
The director-general said that her agency frowns at this evil act and would soon commence sting operation in some identified black spots.
“Any centre found wanting will be sealed up and the operators will face the law,’’ said Okah-Donli.