The United States Senate designated January as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. National Human Trafficking Awareness Month is a period to promote awareness and actions against Human Trafficking in the Country and around the world. It seeks to end this slavery, return rights to individuals and make the world a safer place for all inhabitants. This is also a time to get private sectors, Individuals, Religious Groups, Organizations, and Government involved in combating and preventing Human Trafficking. An estimated 27 million people are victims of human trafficking globally. They are bought and sold into prostitution, labor exploitation and child pornography. For years, human trafficking has continued to thrive in shadow and in the silence of others. 80% of the victims are young people between the ages of 6 and 24 years. Nigeria is a source, destination and transit of people trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation. Also, there has been high rise in illegal migration of Nigerian youth to foreign countries, which has led to death of hundreds in Libya, Mediterranean Sea, and deserts. According to Global Slavery Index, there are 875,500 victims of human trafficking in Nigeria. Also, thousands of Nigerian youth have died as a result of irregular migration and smuggling while crossing Mediterranean Sea, desert or dangerous roads. There is urgent need for everyone to take actions against this inhumane act.
To commemorate this year’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Devatop Centre for Africa Development in partnership with American Center (AC), U.S Embassy Abuja hosted a one-day interactive Discussion with the theme: “Fostering Action Against Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration” for CSOs, Youth, Educators, Religious Leaders, Law Enforcement Officers, and interested individuals.
During the interactive session, Mr. Joseph Osuigwe, the Executive Director of Devatop Centre for Africa Development spoke briefly about Human Trafficking. Joseph cited that according to 2016 Global Slavery Index, there are over 875, 500 Nigerians who are victims of human trafficking overtime. According to him, “Every year, 32 billion dollars is generated from the exploitation of 27 million victims globally, and NewsMax stated that 30, 000 victims of human trafficking die every year as a result of torture, hunger, and disease. He explained. Devatop Centre for Africa Development is currently working on developing a mobile application known as TALKAM which can be used to report incidences or cases of human trafficking and other human rights abuses. TALKAM will increase reportage of human trafficking in Nigeria”
Mr. Joseph told the participants how CSOs, Religious bodies and private sectors can do more to curb human trafficking and illegal migration. He said that there is urgent need for national call for action against human trafficking. He used Ebola as a case study, “stating that everyone saw Ebola as a national problem and fought it together. Religious leaders, political leaders, banks, companies, and citizens were all eager and committed to kicking-out Ebola. That same approached and commitment should be used to tackle human trafficking. Human trafficking is worse than Ebola. Government, private sectors, churches, mosques, and citizens must tackle human trafficking as Ebola was tackled, if not, we will be recording low result in anti-human trafficking effort”.
Joseph called on participants to be at the forefront of combating human trafficking.
Other Discussants at the event include:
- Orakwue Arinze (Director of Public Enlightenment, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons)
- Kolawole Olatosimi, Coordinator, NACTAL-North Central
- Ngozi Ikenga, Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Abuja Chapter)
- Mrs Imaobong Ladipo-Sanusi, Executive Director, WOTCLEF