The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Fatima Waziri-Azi, says Nigerian women working in Iraq are exploited in diverse ways.
The NAPTIP DG, in a statement Thursday, said most of them worked as domestic workers in Iraq and were exploited on daily basis.
According to her, they are now requesting for assistance to return home.
She described the situation as scary, adding that the workload imposed on them by their taskmasters was very worrisome.
She said NAPTIP was currently investigating several rogue labour recruiters reported to be big players in the massive recruitment of Nigerians to Iraq for domestic servitude.
She said awareness by NAFDAC and other partners on the well-known destination countries across the globe had now made traffickers to shift attention to Iraq.
She said: “We’re inundated with pleas for rescue and repatriation from female victims trafficked to Iraq, especially to the cities of Baghdad and Basra where they’re distributed to homes by their recruiters 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’re forced to undergo.
“Most of them have complained of deteriorating health resulting from the weight of work. They’re 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’re paired with an employer.
“They’re never allowed out of the premises where they’re serving and even when communication is established with them for rescue, they cannot give details of their location.”
Waziri-Azi said Nigerian women were constantly being sexually harassed by members of the household where they were serving, and this aggravated their situation.
She cautioned Nigerians against any desperate quest to travel out of the country for greener pastures.
She said many Nigerian women had fallen prey to traffickers and the lies of labour recruiters who promised them juicy jobs overseas.
She said, “If a sponsor facilitates your travel, you will be forced to do any job to pay off your sponsor before earning money for yourself.”
She said NAPTIP would continue to work with relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria and partners to ensure safe return of the victims from Iraq. (NAN)