• Campaign Should Start From Families, Communities — Ama
The Lagos State Zonal Command, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), says it has so far secured the conviction of five human trafficking offenders this year.
The Zonal Commander, Mrs. Comfort Agboko, who disclosed this in Lagos, during a road walk, organised in collaboration with Live Abundantly, to mark this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, with the theme: “The Use And Abuse Of Technology.”
She regretted that technology had significantly increased cases of exploitation and trafficking.
While noting that daily, the agency received repatriated victims from other parts of the world, in collaboration with International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other organisations.
Agboko said she could not give the actual figure of victims rehabilitated so far “because the number is enormous.”
The Founder/Executive Director, Live Abundantly, Dr. Onyerinma Ama, decried the manner in which technology and digitalisation have aided human trafficking.
Ama said the perennial problem had become a global endemic.
Ama said: “What makes this year’s edition different is the magnitude of the complexity of lives of Nigerians currently. Look at the situation around us, the issue of insecurity, the economy, the pandemic, which had become endemic and all these are affecting the movement of people knowingly or unknowingly.
“We are talking about people who are trafficked…with the digitalisation of the world, we have more avenues that are being used to move people. You can go online thinking you are applying for job, but you might be putting yourself in an arms way, and people you think of employing you are actually going to traffic you and you have no idea. So, technology and digitalisation is making it easier for perpetrators to carry out movement of people, whether for organ transfer or sexual exploitation or forced-labor, just to name a few.”
Ama regretted that the technology that had helped the world to network during the COVID-19 lockdown, the same technology was allowing people to move individuals underground and without much interference, adding that some organisations were trying to figure out how to track movement of people through the same technology.
To stem the tide of the menace, Ama said stakeholders globally must start the campaign from the community, and within the families.
“There are families that are trafficking their members, that must be addressed if you can address it at the grassroots with families, within the communities, states and companies looking for cheap labour, then the problem will be solved.
According to Agboko: “Technology can be used positively and negatively. It can be used to lure innocent victims and it can be used to track traffickers. Through the social media – Facebook, twitter, whatsApp, instagram and others, can be used to create awareness of dangers and antics of traffickers.
“We can use technology to gather intelligence on human trafficking. Through technology we can collaborate with law enforcement agents to prosecute the suspects, which we have done that severally.”
Agboko stressed that NAPTIP is winning the war against human trafficking because of the level of awareness the agency is creating with the collaboration of other stakeholders, adding that human trafficking has being in existence since world creation.
“I want to advise our youths to be patient. Nigeria is one of the countries you can stay and make it. Our youths are hard working, they are not lazy, they are intelligent, and they are brilliant. They should not give-in to traffickers who make promises of helping them; there is no help anywhere.
“There is no country in the world that is not facing depression now, there’s no country that is not facing what Nigeria is facing now – terrorism and others, so our youths should be patient. They should do the little they can do and make sure they don’t allow traffickers to take advantage of them.”