… INTERPOL, Delhi Agencies, Foreign Affairs Others Applauded
By Ajibola Abayomi
Joint operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Ministry of foreign Affairs, the Nigeria High Commission in New Delhi, India, the New Delhi Police as well as activists from the New Delhi based – Anti-Human Trafficking Organisation known as Vihaan-WMS, have arrested a notorious Foreign –based human trafficker, Joy Shandy Okah in a deliberate operation targeting big time traffickers outside Nigeria.
In a statement issued by Adekoye Vincent, the Press Officer of NAPTIP,the operation led to the rescue of three Nigerian victims of forced prostitution (names withheld) in New Delhi, India.
Explaining how the operation was coordinated, Head of the International and Intelligence Cooperation Unit of NAPTIP, Mrs. Angela Agbayekhai, said the prompt directive and support from the Director General of NAPTIP Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi greatly accounted for the success of the operation.
She stated that “on 12th December 2021, NAPTIP received an SOS via email from a Nigerian Minor-17 years old (names withheld) who was deceitfully trafficked from Nigeria for forced prostitution in India. She requested the intervention of the NAPTIP for her rescue and that of other Nigerian victims held captive and forced into sex trade by one Joy Shandy Okah, a Nigerian based in India.
“NAPTIP networked with the Indian based NGO Vihaan-WMS through intelligence sharing, which resulted in the rescue of the three victims and arrest of their trafficker on at New Krishina Park near Well Pharmacy Vikaspuri, New Delhi – India.
“The victims were recruited from Edo, Delta and Rivers States, Nigeria and trafficked to India for sexual exploitation by Joy Shandy Okah ‘F’,and her accomplices. One of the victims travelled from Nigeria on 17th September 2021, while the other two arrived India from Nigeria on 14th December 2021. The victims were subjected to oath rituals in Nigeria before their eventual travel.
“The victims traveled with questionable Passports and Student Visas. They were eventually held captive in New Delhi by their trafficker, Joy Shandy Okah, who sponsored their trip to India. Their phones and travel documents were seized and they were forced into prostitution to pay up a debt of N4.5 million naira each until their rescue on 6th January, 2022.
“Joy Shandy is currently facing trial in an Indian Court since 7th January 2022 after her arrest and the victims who are currently in a safe house linked to Vihaan-WMS and assisting the authorities in this regard”, the Head of the Intelligence Unit of NAPTIP said.
The DG of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, added “I have directed that all persons linked with the recruitment, harbouring, trafficking and sexual exploitation of the three victims who are based in Nigeria, be identified, arrested and prosecuted.
“We shall take the appropriate legal step to ensure that such proceeds of crime are forfeited and use to assuage the pain inflicted on the victims” NAPTIP DG stated.
The DG thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the High Commission of Nigeria to India, authorities of the New Delhi Police, the personnel of the New Delhi based – Anti-Human Trafficking Organization known as Vihaan-WMS and other stakeholders whose roles contributed to the success of the rescue operation and assured them of the sustained support from the Agency.
It would be recalled that the Director General, Dr Fatima Waziri – Azi, on assumption of duties, had vowed to ensure that high profile human traffickers across the World identified, arrest, prosecuted and the proceed of their ill-gotten wealth confiscated and forfeited as restitution to victims of trafficking.
In order to realize this mission, the Director General has embarked on a strategic advocacy to expand the pool of the Agency and enhance operational relationship with critical partners within and outside Nigeria.
Foremost among partners that have demonstrated unconditional commitment to work with the Agency is the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) of which the India police is a member.