As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Day against Human Trafficking on July 30, a migration expert and National Public Relations Officer, Network of Civil Society against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Comrade Osita Osemene, has called for collaborative effort in the fight against the scourge.
In a statement signed by Osemene stressed that if the fight against the menace must make great impact, families, churches, mosques, schools, and community leaders must be collectively involved.
Osemene, who is also the Executive Director, Patriotic Citizen Initiative (PCI), described Nigeria as a source, transit, and destination country for women and children, who are trafficked for forced labour and prostitution.
“Trafficked Nigerian women and children recruited from rural areas are used for involuntary domestic jobs and sexual exploitation in their countries of destination, while the boys are used as beggars, as well as forced labourers in domestic homes and mining sites,” he stated.
He revealed that victims are usually trafficked from Nigeria to the West and Central African countries like Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Benin Republic, Togo, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Gambia.
He also informed that while Nigerians are being trafficked to other African countries, children from other West African countries like Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana, are equally trafficked into Nigeria, where they are subjected to slavery and all forms of hazardous jobs; a situation he said is being aided by the Economic Community of West African States’ Free Movement Protocols, which allows easy entry and exit of citizens among member states.
Osemene equally pointed out that Nigerian women and girls are also deceived into going to Europe, especially Italy, Spain and Russia, as well the Middle East and North African countries, where they are turned into prostitutes and sex slaves.
“As you are aware, recently about 20,000 Nigerian women trafficked are currently stranded in Mali, while there is an ongoing repatriation of over 20,000 Nigerians from Libya and other African countries by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Recall that the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report recently upgraded Nigeria to Tier 2, meaning that the government has not fully met the minimum standard for the elimination of trafficking.
“The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), under Dame Julie Okah-Donli, has persistently carried out a series of sensitisation, rescue, and prosecution, as well as empowerment activities in affected states as a way of fighting the scourge.
“NAPTIP has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with NACTAL led by Emmanuel Adaramola, just to strengthen the relationship between government and civil society stakeholders to ensure that the fight against the scourge succeeds,” he stated.
According to the PCI boss, more than 50 civil society organisations will, tomorrow, embark on different programmes aimed at reaching out to one million people in 24 hours with the message #endhumantraffickingnow.