Women Arise for Change Initiatives (WA) and Campaign for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (CCHR) have called on governments to provide social benefits and free education for indigent Nigerians to stop them surrendering to traffickers.
The groups through their leaders, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos on Sunday, July 29, 2018 that trafficking, like all other crimes, could only be curtailed with good governance, which gives priority to pro people projects.
Dr Joe Okei Odumakin, President of WA, said human trafficking was a crime against humanity and should, henceforth, be treated as such by governments, both locally and internationally.
“We cannot continue to subject our children and women to the nefarious practice of human trafficking, while hoping that we can consolidate our future.
““The future of any society is in its capacity to guarantee the future of its women and children and these are the most vulnerable class of people who are victims of trafficking,’’ she said.
The rights activist urged Nigerians, particularly women and children, to disregard all forms of enticement and promises from syndicates who directly or indirectly engage them in the modern-day slavery.
According to her, the culture of silence must also be broken.
Okei-Odumakin advised the younger ones, particularly the girl child, to always speak out when approached by the perpetrators of this heinous practice.
Prince Toyin Raheem, Executive Secretary of CCHR, blamed the increase in human trafficking on governments.
He said: “If successive governments in Nigeria had lived up to expectations and make life bearable for the common man, trafficking in persons may not be as high as we have it now.
“Parents, who release their children in exchange for money, mature girls and women and young men that surrendered themselves to traffickers in exchange for money, did so because of poverty primarily and ignorance which is secondary.
“Some of them though, under illusion and deceit by traffickers of juicy employment offer in foreign lands,’’ he said.
Raheem called on governments to go beyond the National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and collaborate with non-governmental organisations and human rights groups to sensitise the people, especially those in rural areas.
He said proper sensitisation was necessary to educate the people of the danger in releasing their children for overseas travel without knowing the purpose.
The rights activists also urged governments to see that the law on trafficking was amended to stipulate death penalty for traffickers.
He added that all wealth of traffickers found guilty should also be confiscated and given to victims of their devilish acts.
The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/68/192.
The resolution was adopted in 2013.
The day is celebrated yearly on July 30 to create awareness about human trafficking and worldwide efforts to defeat the scourge.
By Lydia Ngwakwe