IOM rescues 27, 000 Nigerian migrants in 82 countries


*Seeks integrated approach to tackle menace of trafficking

The United Nations, (UN) International Organization for Migration, (IOM), has said that it rescued a total of 27, 00 Nigerian migrants across 82 countries in the past five years.

IOM’s chief of mission in Nigeria, Prestage Murima, said out of the 27, 000 rescues, 3,599 are victims of human trafficking and that only 1,726 of these victims have received some kind of support to start businesses of their choice as a part of their reintegration process.

In a communique marking this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, she said this year, IOM will be marking the day under the theme ‘Prevent, Protect and Prosecute’ to highlight the need for action and the importance of having an integrated approach in addressing Trafficking in Persons, (TIP).

She said “Nigeria is an important locus as a source, transit, and destination country in the trafficking process. Several pushes and pull factors have been identified as catalysts for TiP. The country’s current macro-economic environment, rapid population growth and limited investment in social services have had devastating effects and increased the vulnerability of most of its citizens”

“Since 2017, IOM Nigeria has coordinated the return of over 27,000 Nigerian migrants from 82 countries. Out of this number, 3,599 are Victims of Trafficking, (VoTs). Only 1,726 of the VoTs have received in-kind support to start businesses of their choice.”

She explained that central to IOM’s counter-trafficking strategy is a comprehensive approach to addressing trafficking in persons, advocating for rights, and protecting the physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals and their communities in addition to promoting sustainability through institutional capacity development and partnerships.

Murima said the organization also joins the United Nations System and the Federal government to raise awareness under the global theme ‘Use and abuse of technology, since technology is a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.  

“IOM interprets this theme in terms of how technology can be harnessed as a preventive tool and for facilitating protection because the increasing use of technology post the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled human trafficking with numerous tricks deployed and with greater speed, accuracy, and anonymity; to recruit, exploit, and control victims; organize their transport and accommodation; advertise victims and reach out to potential clients; communicate among perpetrators; and hide criminal proceeds,” she pointed.

According to her, “Traffickers use social media to identify, groom and recruit victims, including children; e-mails and messaging services are used for the moral coercion of the victims; and online platforms allow traffickers to widely advertise services provided by victims.

She lamented that persons seeking better economic opportunities, asylum seekers and refugees fleeing crisis are vulnerable to the risk of trafficking with traffickers profiting from the desperation, and separation of people – particularly women and children from support systems and family members.

“Only with a concerted effort by governments, the international community, and above all the local communities, can we fight back human trafficking,” she said.

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