Human trafficking and irregular migration have been described as a scourge that must be risen against to protect the world economy and wellbeing of humanity according to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The Lagos Zonal Commandant of the agency, Mr Dan Atokolo reinstated thus: “This is a clarion call to all men, institutions, groups, clubs, Civil Society Groups (CSOs), government, corporate bodies, law enforcement institutions to gird their loins, raise voices and join hands to combat this crime that has shamed us all. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “Our live begins to end the day we became silent about things that matter”.
He spoke while delivering a key note address on action against human trafficking in Nigeria during an online summit organised by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM).
Addressing the forum with over 150 journalists across the continents, the NAPTIP Commandant added that: “Human Trafficking is a threat to national and human security of any nation irrespective of the level of government.
“No country can survive with the huge cost of human trafficking and irregular migration to the depletion of its human resources.
“Our country’s greatest asset is our population and our youth population is the future of this country. This scourge is a clear and present danger that urgently demands all hands on deck and warrants the deployment of resources of both society and government to reverse it.
“The spike in insurgency and brazenness of terrorism must be located in its capacity to recruit members to its fold from the undiscerning minds, less advantaged class of the society and army of vulnerable persons within the grassroots levels of governance” he said.
The Zonal Commandant explained that with over 430 convictions since 2003, NAPTIP, would continue to make Nigeria a hot zone for human traffickers.
He said with the agency’s act passed in 2003 and repealed in 2015, the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 Nigeria has demonstrated the political will to effectively combat human trafficking activities in Nigeria and beyond.
“NAPTIP has become a training ground for other countries including European countries to learn good practices in the fight against human trafficking as a number of them now sent officials on study tour of NAPTIP with a view to establishing such Agency in their countries.”
He explained that with the launch of Sex Offenders Register aimed at naming and shaming of sex offenders with the provision of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) actions had been speed up against huge number of women and children being trafficked around the world.
“Their trauma and pains make them cherry picking for insurgents and terrorists. Along the path of human trafficking, life is short brutish and nasty and the slender thread of hope diminishes each day turning the victim into willing tools in the hands of his or her captors ready to exact vengeance on their society.
“Need I say more about the economic consequences of brain drain and loss of human capital which are the twin occupants of the scourge. We must, as a people begin to invest resources that seek to address the push factors or grey grasses which compel our youths or citizens to migrate illegally or fall prey to traffickers.
“We should not be unmindful of the health consequences too; the attendant cost of reception and health screening of returnees withdrawn from camps in Libya” Atokolo said.