WORLD DAY AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING 2020: HDI ADVOCATES PROPER USE OF 75 BILLION YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FUND, INTER-AGENCY COLLABORATION TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The 30th of July every year is set aside as World Day Against Human Trafficking. As an organisation focused on strengthening vulnerable humans in the society, Human Development Initiatives wishes to lend her voice to those of other stakeholders to draw attention of world leaders and citizens to the menace of human trafficking in Nigeria, with most victims being children and women. Human and Child trafficking stories are daily features in the Nigerian news; including adolescents, young adults and children (male and female) who are trafficked to different countries of the world. These victims leave with promises of better life and quality education but unfortunately end up as house maids, sex slaves or even used for several other heinous purposes including human organ harvesting. Many innocent young women smuggled into foreign countries in hope of a better life, have ended up as sex slaves with some having had to pay the ultimate price due to the cruelty of trafficking. Without doubt, stories of Human trafficking are tales of woes, pain and anguish; they are stories of exploitation and abuse.
Trafficking which today is a multi-million-dollar business, thrives in Nigeria because of extreme poverty and high rate of unemployment among persons of employable age in the country. Research has shown that 7 out of 10 young Nigerians want to travel out of the country in search of better life. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that 70% of human trafficking victims are women and girls while 30% of the victims are children. Of these, 23% are girls while 7% are boys. The Nigerian government in the bid to combat the menace of Human trafficking has signed on to various International Conventions that guarantee human freedom and prohibit exploitation.
To end human trafficking in Nigeria, all hands must be on deck as both government and citizens have roles. HDI wishes to commend the present administration for their efforts in evacuating Nigerians who are stranded in many parts of the world as a result of trafficking. However, much needs to be done in empowering survivors and potential victims of trafficking while also ensuring the enforcement of laws against trafficking. It is pertinent to note that the Buhari-led administration recently declared a 75 billion Naira Youth Development Fund which can be harnessed towards empowerment of youths who are vulnerable to trafficking disguised as migration. We therefore seize the opportunity of this year’s Day Against Human Trafficking to call on the Federal Government to ensure that this fund gets to the grassroots by ensuring due process in the selection of beneficiaries.
We are hopeful that the fund, if properly utilized, will empower many unemployed youths and save them from the agony of trafficking. We are also calling on all government agencies in the forefront of the fight against human trafficking especially the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NATIP) to step up the fight by ensuring inter-agency collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies for adequate enforcement of anti-trafficking laws. We are also calling on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to increase sensitization and community re-orientation to enlighten people on the risks of illegal migration.
The government should put more security measures in place and ensure proper manning of State and national borders to curtail the problem of illegal migration. We are also appealing to all Nigerians especially the youths, to be wary of promises that seem too-good-to-be-true. There can be no supply if there is no demand – for trafficking. We all have roles to play in curtailing Human Trafficking, such as spreading the news to put traffickers out of business and joining the campaign against the use of children as house help.
HDI as Coordinating Office for NACTAL South West Zone will continue to do our very best in the fight against human and child trafficking in partnership with NAPTIP to ensure that women and children can live in a society free from exploitation and abuse.
Together, we can put an end to the evil trade of human trafficking. Every human deserves dignity.
Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye,
Executive Director, HDI Nigeria