The Federal Ministry of Justice and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, on Friday organised a seminar to mark the 2017 International Day Against Trafficking in Persons in Abuja.
The seminar, which had in attendance many dignitaries was aimed at sensitising stakeholders and the public on the dangers posed by human trafficking.
It was also to increase the will of members of the public to report more suspected cases of trafficking or forced labour to prosecuting agencies.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in a welcome address noted that human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes.
“This includes forced labour and sex. And according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally which also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation,’’ he said.
He also said that the issue had taken a global dimension.
He mentioned poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities as the most common causes of human trafficking.
“These factors motivate potential victims of trafficking to look to other countries for opportunities they do not have at home. They become easy prey for traffickers making false promises about job offers in foreign countries.’’
He added that the Boko Haram insurgency had added to the menace.
“The Boko Haram crisis in the North East of Nigeria has greatly contributed to human trafficking and outright abduction and sale of vulnerable persons in most of our rural Northern communities. Compared with other illicit forms of trafficking, such as drugs or weapons, human trafficking is the most lucrative investment for traffickers.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Shehu Sani, who was also a keynote speaker at the seminar stated that Nigeria must situate the peculiarities of its own situation and efforts within the context of the global realities of the moment.
Mr Sani, who is also the founder of the Pan African Initiative against Irregular and Dangerous Migration, said the matter deserves to be approached and treated for what it truly represents: a national crisis of monumental proportion.
“We all know, of course, that the dismal experiences of trafficked persons, and the hopelessness of their journeys of no return, is nothing but the modern equivalent of the more than 400 years of slavery suffered by Africans in the hands of the West.
And being a legal as well as moral equivalence of slavery, human trafficking must also be similarly condemned and criminalized by all modern and civilised societies.”
The senator urged all stakeholders especially the seminar participants to explore ways and means of bringing all facets of the fight against human trafficking into sync with global best practices and standards.
He also promised to support innovative proposals that will advance the mandates of both NAPTIP and the Ministry of Justice in the fight against human trafficking.
The seminar had in its attendance the Ambassador, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, representatives of NAPTIP, NYSC, Nigerian Customs, Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Navy, FIRS, Nigerian Police, British High Commission, Nigerian Immigration Services, ONE Organization, Voice Of Nigeria, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, FGGC Bwari, NGOs among others.