Photos: Teenager, Woman Convicted For Tricking Men Into Exploitative Labour

An 18-year-old boy, Awua Mzehemen, and a 40-year-old woman have been sentenced to two years imprisonment for recruiting three young men between ages 20 and 21 years for exploitative labour. They were, however, given an option of fine. Mzehemen and Mbaikpeveyol Pius (40), female, were both convicted for human trafficking by Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State.

The convicts were arraigned by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), with the case number FHC/MKD/ CR/25/18. The Head, Press and Public Relations Unit, NAPTIP, Nneka Aniagoh, said: “The young men were deceitfully recruited by the first accused person under the guise of getting a job for them in a shop in Oyo State on a monthly salary.

However, upon reaching Oyo, the victims were forced to work in a farm belonging to the second accused and hired out to work in other people’s farms while the second accused collected their salaries.” Aniagoh said their attempts to escape the exploitative environment were thwarted by the accused twice, before they managed to alert the police, who subsequently got NAPTIP involved in the case.

The prosecution argued that the act was contrary to Section 13(2)(b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015, as it amounted to exploitative labour. Delivering the judgement after the accused pleaded guilty to the charge, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Dikko Hassan, convicted and sentenced them to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N150,000 each.

Reacting to the news, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, commended the police for effective partnership in the rescue and transfer of the victims. She warned employers against paying the wages of their employees to a third party or an agent.

This, according to her, is exploitative and fuels human trafficking. She said: “Every worker deserves to be paid his or her agreed wages directly; paying to another person who will likely pay the worker a fraction of the wages, or not at all, is akin to slavery and it is an offence.”

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