The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons said it has engaged some local witch doctors in Benin, Edo State, as ambassadors in fighting human trafficking.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed this at a symposium for the agency’s officials in Abuja on Monday.
Edo State has the highest number of traffickers and victims of human trafficking in the country.
Okah-Donli said investigations revealed that some local witch doctors were involved or used in the trafficking of persons to Europe.
“When we gathered these witch doctors recently to sensitise them on what human trafficking victims go through in Europe, they were shocked.
“And they have made their commitments to work with us to fight the menace of human trafficking,” the NAPTIP boss said.
She said the agency would involve and sensitise more witch doctors in Edo and other parts of the country and make them NAPTIP ambassadors in fighting human trafficking.
Okah-Donli said once human traffickers get a victim’s consent by force, fraud or coercion, such person would be made to take oath of secrecy/allegiance before a local witch doctor in a shrine.
According to her, some rituals are performed on the victims, using their urine, pubic hair, fingernails, eye lashes, menstrual blood, underwear and other personal effects.
She said once these rituals are done, it would be seen as a bond between the victims and the traffickers.
“In spite of the rituals and oath-taking, the victim reaches the destination point only to realise the farce behind the sweet promises of a greener pasture.
“And in this circumstance, such person is told in strict terms not to renege on the oath of secrecy, as it cannot be reversed,” the NAPTIP DG said.
She pledged the agency’s commitment to, and determination to end trafficking in persons.