The Department of State Services in Bayelsa, on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 said it has uncovered a child trafficking syndicate and rescued 36 trafficked children.
Speaking to journalists, the Deputy Director at Bayelsa Command of the SSS, Mr. Onuche said the operation was carried out on July 6, 2015 and led to the arrest of four suspects.
He said 12 males and 24 females, were rescued from homes in Yenagoa and Kaiama in Bayelsa, Port Harcourt, and Enugu-Agidi in Anambra. The victims were made house helps.
Mr. Onuche said the suspect operated under the guise of missionaries and Non-Government Organizations (NGO). He said the suspect targeted vulnerable children from Zamfara, Kaduna and Kebbi states; then traffic them to the southern part of the country.
The DSS said the suspect would approach parents of the children and convince them to release their wards claiming that the children would be assisted to acquire good education only for the children to end up as house helps.
“There is need therefore for members of the public to be sensitized on the need to be circumspect in the way they give out children or take in children from such unscrupulous modern day slave traders,” Mr. Onuche said.
Some of the children who narrated their ordeal to journalists said the missionaries who adreed with their parents that they would be placed in schools failed on their promises and handed them to foster parents.
“The pastors came to our villages in Zaria and convinced some parents who are unable to train their children in schools. When we got to Bayelsa they took us to different homes.
“The woman I was asked to live with used to assign me to the farm and I also sold water for her. I no longer went to school. I started school at the beginning of the term but she told me to stop school now,” one of the trafficked children said.
Meanwhile, the three male suspects who claimed to be clergymen with Assemblies of God Mission said that they acted on humanitarian grounds and only collected transport fares from parents of the victims.