The Senate on Wednesday expressed concern that a child slavery system could spring up if child trafficking is not checked.
The concern was raised after a motion was moved by Barau Jibrin (APC–Kano North).
Mr Jibrin told his colleagues that the need to check the growing rate of child trafficking has become important to prevent “destroying our future generation and negatively affecting the image of our country within the comity of nations.”
He noted that forced adoption, domestic service, prostitution and other forms of exploitative labour practices are among the reasons why children are trafficked across the country.
Following further debate on the motion, the red chamber mandated the committees on Women Affairs and Youth Development, as well as that of Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to conduct an investigative hearing on child trafficking, proffer solutions, and submit their report within two weeks.
It also implored concerned agencies, responsible to “curb and eliminate child trafficking and trafficking in persons to be more effective in the discharge of their duties.”
State governments were advised to take proactive measures to protect children from trafficking.
Already a Tier 2 country for trafficking, according to the 2019 U.S. State Department’s Trafficking In Persons Report, Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.
The 2018 Global Slavery Index Report ranks Nigeria 32 among the 167 countries with the highest number of ‘slaves’. Specifically, it says 1,386,000 people live in modern slavery in the country.
The average age of persons trafficked as estimated by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is 15.
The agency further states that of all trafficked persons, 75 per cent are across states, 23 per cent are trafficked within states and 2 per cent are trafficked outside the country.
A not-for-profit organisation, Pathfinders Justice Initiative, identifies extreme poverty, corruption, conflict, climate change/resulting migration and ‘western consumerism’ as factors responsible for trafficking in Nigeria.