The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has condemned the plight of young Nigerian women working as domestic workers in Iraq.
The Director-General of the agency, Fatima Waziri-Azi, in a statement stated that most of the young Nigerian women working in Iraq are being exploited in diverse ways, including sexual harassment, and are now currently seeking for help to return home.
According to Waziri-Azi, the agency is currently investigating several recruiters who have been reported to be behind the massive recruitment of Nigerians to Iraq for domestic servitude.
“Because of the proactive activities and collaborative efforts of NAPTIP and its partners in raising awareness around issues of human trafficking in some of the known destination countries, traffickers have now shifted their attention to Iraq. 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 for a hard life of domestic servitude.
“Available information shows that many of these victims have been admitted to the hospital many times due to the long work hours and harsh conditions they are forced to undergo. Most of them have complained of deteriorating health resulting from the weight of their work. They are constantly under threat of being harmed either by their direct employers or the Iraqi agents, and each time they complained of an unbearable workload.
“Many of them have no access to their phones because their phones are seized immediately when 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 do not know where they are. It is indeed a very scary situation.
“Aside from the workload imposed on them by their taskmasters, they are constantly being sexually harassed by members of the household where they are serving, aggravating their situation. It is very important to be cautious about this desperate quest to travel out of Nigeria for greener pastures, which is the reason so many fall prey to traffickers and the lies of labor recruiters who promise juicy jobs overseas.”