More than 200 years after human slavery officially ended, humanity appears to be hurtling towards the veil over again, albeit in a new fashion.

How can one explain that in 2017, more than 25,000 Nigerians are held as slaves in Libya alone?

Many are held as sex slaves.

The shocking revelation was made by the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli.

Okah-Donli let out the bombshell while justifying the agency’s 2018 budget before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on Tuesday.

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She said of the figure, about 5,000 of the victims have already been helped to come back home to Nigeria.

“A large number of Nigerians have also been returned from other countries in Europe and Africa. All these people need to be properly received, profiled and assisted,” Okah-Donli said.

NAPTIP, she said, “has been working in conjunction with other governmental and non-governmental agencies such as NEMA, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and others to provide help to these unfortunate Nigerians”.

She tried to point out to the lawmakers that enough attention was not being paid to the menace despite its obvious implications.

The NAPTIP boss said the recent trend which marked the resurgence of slave trade was more alarming and required the attention it deserved.

According to her, the task before the agency is enormous while budgetary allocations have been comparatively low.

Read More: From Whistleblowing To Juju, How Nigeria Plans To End Human Trafficking

“It is my honour and privilege to raise a cry for help in this hallowed chamber on behalf of the most vulnerable members of the society, especially women and children.

“In recent months the odious and perverse consequences of human trafficking and irregular migration were forcefully brought to our television screens with gory tales,” she said.

Okah-Donli added that if human trafficking was to be reduced or eliminated, massive public awareness as well as behavourial change campaigns must be sustained from the grassroots to the national level.

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