From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Justice Development Peace and Caritas Initiatives (JDPCI), Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT), Ideal Resource Centre (IDRC), and the Girl Power Initiative (GPI) have raised the alarm over the rise in the online recruitment of victims by human traffickers.
They expressed their displeasure during a sensitisation rally in Benin to mark the antihuman trafficking day.
Speaking for the groups, Rev. Fr. Fidelis Arhedo, Executive Director, JDPCI, said the traffickers have leveraged on the use of internet to recruit their suspected victims by posting various mouth-watering offers on the internet.
He said the situation has gone worse now that the students have been kept at home for too long as result of the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, strike.
“This year is focusing on the Use and Misuse of Technology”. You know, recruiters of human trafficking are now using the internet to recruit their victims because you can find out now that many students at home and they have no other business than to be with their phones and the moment the phones come up, you see images coming up and most of these images coming up are free education, free traveling to Europe and you find out that because EU is separating from UK and there is job opportunity and so, they have been deceiving our people on how to travel to Europe”, he said.
Fr. Arhedo said they are calling on Nigerians to be aware of traffickers and that they should not be deceived by what they see in the internet.
Arhedo added that before traveling abroad, they should verify and check as they are not against anybody traveling but against people traveling abroad to be enslaved.
Speaking also, the Edo State chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Festus Alenkhe assured the groups that media will do all it takes to write about the ills of human trafficking with the view of discouraging would be victims just as he called on the religious leaders to use their various platforms to preach against human trafficking.
He also called on the federal government to renegotiate with ASUU so that the students can return to school.