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DSS Smashes Child-Trafficking Syndicate In Bayelsa, Rescues 36

The Bayelsa Command of the Department of State Services (DSS) announced on Wednesday that it has smashed a child-trafficking syndicate and rescued 36 children.


The Bayelsa Command of the Department of State Services (DSS) announced on Wednesday that it has smashed a child-trafficking syndicate and rescued 36 children.

Briefing journalists, DDS Deputy Director Friday Onuche said four suspects were arrested during the operation, which took place on July 6. The operation also rescued 12 males and 24 females from homes where they had been given out as house help in Yenagoa and Kaiama in Bayelsa State, Port Harcourt in Rivers State, and Enugu-Agidi in Anambra State.

Mr. Onuche said the syndicates are suspected to operate under the guise of missionaries and non-governmental organizations, targeting vulnerable children from Zamfara, Kaduna, and Kebbi States, whom they then traffic into the southern part of the country.

According to the DSS, the parents of the target children are usually approached and convinced to release their wards under the pretext that the children would be assisted to acquire a good education, not suspecting that their children would end up as servants. Mr. Onuche emphasized the need for parents to be on guard for traffickers.

In their testimonies, some of the children told the newsmen that the missionaries who arranged with their parents to place them in choice schools reneged 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, but when we got to Bayelsa they now took us to different homes,” they said, where they were forced to work for the new households.

Meanwhile, the three males amongst the suspects, who claimed to be clergymen with the Assemblies of God Mission, maintained that they were in the endeavor on humanitarian grounds and had merely collected transport “fares” from prospective parents.