A non governmental organisation, Live Abundantly!, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Person (NAPTIP), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the police are offering assistance to end human trafficking, child labour, sexual abuse among other violent acts against children. The groups collaborated and launched Children Awareness Campaign where 91 schools from the Education District 4, in Lagos State participated to celebrate Children’s Day.
The convener, Dr Ama Onyerinma, said, Nigeria needs to fight human trafficking with training and awareness programme: “Children need to be aware and enlightened of the dangers apparent, the enduring sexual exploitation and inhumane treatment victims of irregular migration, experience.
“When they acquire knowledge, they will understand the wiles employed by these human traffickers and they become better equipped to stand against it. With information they can counter the tricks deployed by the traffickers and can voice out when they suspect a move in their environment.
«To put an end to the rising cases of violent act against children, the organisation is determined to mobilise resources to tackle all forms of violence against children wherever it occurs. Perpetrators often include the very people children are expected to trust; parents, caregivers, friends, teachers, intimate partners and other family members.
“We are currently analysing strategy on how we can move into every education district in the state to create awareness on the various forms of violence against them. This would enable them gain a deeper understanding of the drivers of violence against them.
“We are supporting the government to track and monitor reported cases to end the menace. Violence against children affected them for life. The marks of sexual violence, human trafficking, child labour were sometimes visible bruises and broken bones.
“Children should not see themselves as object of gratification. People should not violate the children and if they are faced with such situation they must report and speak up.
“Children should not to allow any adult snap or touch their private parts as well as watch pornographic video. When such occasion arises they should shun it, so it does not cause any harm or affect their physical or mental state.”
Chairperson of the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM), Mrs Olabisi Ariyo, who was represented by Mr Ganiyu Oshodi charged the children “not to allow anyone deceive them with travel abroad that is an ignoble trade of human trafficking where victims are exposed to modern day slavery.”
“Children should make use of the school suggestion box if they are confronted with such circumstances and are afraid to speak up. They can talk to guidance and counsellors in the school or even the police if they cannot talk with their parents.
“Children should be careful about the contents they absorb from the internet. The advancement of technology should not be used in the negative form rather it should be a source of education to them.”
Representing the zonal co-ordinator of NAPTIP, Mr Daniel Atokolo, Rosemary Ndulue, said as children they need to understand that human traffickers lured their victims because of poverty, which is a brutal reality: “It is modern day slavery that there are more slaves today than at any time in history.
“The victims are hidden from view. They are afraid to ask for help because they are coerced into harsh employment under horrible conditions, and do not have freedom to leave. Victims are beaten, violated and told they are worthless.”
National Project Officer, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Opeyemi Kolawole, said: “What the children should understand about travelling before they travel to any part of the world is to define purpose, consider the location and geographical area. They should not travel to countries where they don’t understand their language because means of communication is very important. Before they travel, they must make enquiry from the necessary quarters before embarking on the journey.
“With support from the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (ETFA), as well as contributions from Germany and Italy, an EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration was launched in December 2016 to help the EU, IOM and African countries work together to combat irregular migration and promote safe migration.”