By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has disclosed that creating awareness on the nature and scope of human trafficking as a prevention tool will help combat, prevent and suppress the scourge of trafficking in persons in the country.
In her address at the 2017 European Union Anti-trafficking Day in Abuja on Wednesday, Elisabeth Bayer, the officer-in-charge UNODC Nigeria, noted that the UNODC’s latest global report on trafficking in persons points out that children constitute almost one third of all human trafficking in persons globally.
Bayer averred that criminals who are human traffickers prey on people in need and without support noting that they see migrants especially children as easy target for exploitation, violence and abuse.
‘’Children constitute almost one third of all human trafficking victims worldwide.
‘’Armed conflicts and humanitarian crisis expose those caught in the cross fire to increased risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, illegal adoption, forced marriages, removal of organ, servitude, enrollment as child soldiers and other forms of exploitation,’’ she said.
Earlier in her welcome address, Julie Okah-Donli, Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), stressed that human trafficking and child labour are evil and illegal, hence it should be stopped.
Okah-Donli reiterated the agency commitment to eradicate all forms of child abuse and human trafficking.
‘’Nigeria has gone a long way in fighting human trafficking, child right act for instance was passed in 2003,’’ she said.
Okah-Donli who was represented by Abdulrahman Oputu, Director Legal and Prosecution at the agency however warned perpetrators of such heinous crime to desist from doing so.
Mohammed Babandede, Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) stressed that it is imperative to educate children and young girls on the dangers of trafficking so as to avert them from being a victim.
‘’No Nigeria child must die, it is our collective efforts to educate our children,’’ he said.
Babandede who was represented by Chris Gaduya noted that the immigration has stepped up efforts in combating human trafficking via electronic data systems.
He added that all hands must be on deck to combat the scourge.