Nigerian women facing harassment, sexual exploitation in Iraq — NAPTIP warns

Nigerian women facing harassment, sexual exploitation in Iraq — NAPTIP warns

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has raised concerns regarding how Nigerian women who are working as domestic workers in Iraq are being harassed and sexually exploited.

NAPTIP warned that women are constantly sexually exploited, noting that it is important to vet job opportunities before them.

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The agency’s director-general, Fatima Waziri-Azi, raised the alarm in a statement issued on Wednesday by NAPTIP spokesperson Vincent Adekoye.

According to Waziri-Azi, the majority of the women are requesting assistance to return back to Nigeria due to various challenges facing them.

She said that many of the Nigerian women, mostly the younger ones, were trafficked to Iraq under the guise of greener pastures.

The DG however confirmed that the agency is investigating rogue labour recruiters who have been reported to be the foremost recruiter of Nigerian women to Iraq.

“Because of the proactive activities and collaborative efforts of NAPTIP and its partners in raising awareness around issues of human trafficking to some of the known destination countries, traffickers have now shifted attention to Iraq,” the statement reads.

“We are inundated with pleas for rescue and repatriation from female victims trafficked to Iraq, especially to the cities of Baghdad and Basra where they are distributed to various homes by their recruitment agents to a hard life of domestic servitude.

“Available information shows that many of these victims have been admitted to hospital many times due to long work hours under harsh conditions they are forced to undergo. Most of them have complained of deteriorating health resulting from the weight of work. They are constantly under threat of being harmed either by their direct employers or the Iraqi agents, each time they complained of unbearable workload.

“Many of them have no access to their phones because their phones are seized immediately they are paired with an employer. They are never allowed out of the premises where they are serving and even when communication is established with them for rescue, they cannot give details of their location because they don’t know where they are. It is indeed a very scary situation.

“Remember, if a sponsor facilitates your travel, you will be forced to do any job to pay off your sponsor before you earn money for yourself,” she said.

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