Countering Trafficking in Persons

Modern day slavery; human degradation and exploitation resulting in irregular migration of young people, women and girls for either sexual exploitation and or forced labour is common-sight in Nigeria due to poverty and unemployment. Both the low-income and elite class have resorted to irregular migration to search for “Greener Pastures” a phrase that has become a bait in the hands of traffickers in recent times.

Human trafficking is a global problem and no country is immune to it. Millions of victims fall into the hands of traffickers, lured by faked promises and deceit. According to the 2018 United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes, data shows that trafficking happens all around us as the number of persons trafficked within their own country has doubled in recent years to 58% of all detected victims.

Trafficking of Persons and illegal migration remain a critical problem in Africa, especially Nigeria. According to the UNDESCO, Nigeria has acquired a reputation for being one of the leading African countries in human trafficking with cross-border and internal trafficking. UNESCO also asserted that Trafficking of persons is the third largest crime after economic fraud and drug trade.

The motivating force behind these crimes is poverty; vulnerable persons such as women and girls are not the only target, but boys also fall victim to traffickers who belong to both small-scale, local enterprises with extensive criminal network and to a large scale multi-commodity businesses for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and organ harvesting as a result of their search for greener pastures.

Reuters reported in January 2019 that as many as 20,000 women and girls are feared to have been trafficked from Nigeria to Mali where they are stranded after being forced into prostitution, Julie Okah-Donli, director general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said a fact-finding team from NAPTIP and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had uncovered the extent of the trafficking during a visit to southern Mali. According to him, dozens of women and girls were repatriated from the Kangaba area of southern Mali in the preceding months. The team, which went to the area to investigate, found hundreds more being held there, Okah-Donli said in a telephone interview.

CLICE Foundation is constantly seeking ways to lend her voice in the fight against trafficking in persons which is evident in her participation in the symposium and multi-stakeholder dialogue on demystifying the greener pasture myth held in commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. At the dialogue, Mrs. Ibidolapo-Salako Akinyombo, CLICE Foundation’s Director in her welcome address expressed gratitude to all stakeholders and implementing partners for their cooperation towards collaborative advocacy while calling on the Government to End Human Trafficking. Mrs. Akinyombo said the theme; “Demystifying the Greener Pasture Myth” was adopted by CLICE Foundation sequel to the first stakeholders engagement the organization had in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State in Partnership with the Human Trafficking Unit of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Cross River State Command and other local organizations.

She further reiterated that human trafficking is a global challenge that demands urgent attention and recounted a nerve-racking experience at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference where she was privy to a documentary that revealed the type of activities traffickers indulge in and how humans are sold at a commodity market just like products; having different specifications, brands and services.

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