Groups raise concern on increase in human trafficking, child abuse in Nigeria

L-R: Jude Igbanoi; Lawyer and Journalist, Gloria Egbuji; Executive Director, Crime Victims Foundation, Okechukwu Nwanguma; Executive Director, RULAAC, Justice Olamide; Head of Operations, NAPTIP, Lagos and Comfort Sani; Head of Research and Programmes, NAPTIP, Lagos.
L-R: Jude Igbanoi; Lawyer and Journalist, Gloria Egbuji; Executive Director, Crime Victims Foundation, Okechukwu Nwanguma; Executive Director, RULAAC, Justice Olamide; Head of Operations, NAPTIP, Lagos and Comfort Sani; Head of Research and Programmes, NAPTIP, Lagos.

A human rights advocacy organisation, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), and stakeholders have raised concerns about human trafficking and child abuse in Nigeria.

Young girls and women are continually being trafficked within the country and to other countries.

Okechukwu Nwanguma, the Executive Director of RULAAC, said despite the efforts of enforcement agencies, there is a rising trend of human trafficking in the country with many reported cases of trafficked persons.

He said this at a stakeholders’ engagement forum on Human Trafficking and Child Abuse in Nigeria, which held in Lagos on Tuesday.

Present at the forum were representatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), civil society organisations, and other stakeholders.

NAPTIP had earlier reported that 75 per cent of persons trafficked in Nigeria are trafficked across states, while 23 per cent trafficked within states and only 2 per cent trafficked outside the country.

According to 2016 data released by the International Labor Organisation, more than 40 million people globally were victims of modern slavery, including millions of people in forced labour and forced marriage.

The Global slavery index also revealed that “Nigeria remains a source, transit and destination country when it comes to human trafficking.”

Mr Nwanguma said that in spite of reports of victims and increasing awareness on human trafficking, more Nigerians still fall victim of the menace.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported a 23-year old Nigerian lady was trafficked to Lebanon and rescued by the federal government.

In 2019, NAPTIP also reported how it had rescued 14,000 victims of human trafficking over the years, while the Nigerian immigration authority prevented 150 victims of human trafficking from leaving the country.

Mr Nwanguma added that child adoption and child laundering is a prevalent method of child trafficking and child abuse in Nigeria, recent cases being the bust of baby factories and arrest of self-acclaimed doctors, reverend sisters and nurses running illegal orphanages.

Comfort Sani, the Head of Research and Programmes, NAPTIP, Lagos, said the agency has been working tirelessly to curb human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, a crime with little investment but over 100 per cent return. It happens in every community.”

Mrs Sani said human trafficking is huge, coupled with the establishment of illegal orphanages, miracle baby homes, and maternity homes and syndicates, which facilitate the trafficking of persons.

She disclosed that the agency is collaborating with many Non-governmental organisations and public officials to enlighten the public about the vices of human trafficking and also investigate suspects of human trafficking.

While giving recommendations on how to tackle human trafficking in Nigeria, Gloria Egbuji, the Executive Director of Crime Victims Foundation said the Nigerian government must begin to address the economy as this is what drives many people into being victims of human trafficking.

“The process of adoption in Nigeria is too rigid. You can be on the queue for two to three years and people who do not have that patience resort to buying babies from illegal factories,” she said.

Mrs Egbuji also recommended that NAPTIP and other agencies look into travel agencies, alleging that many of them facilitate human trafficking.


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