By Francis Ekpone
A Non Governmental Organisation, Integrated Anti Human Trafficking and Community Development Initiative (INTACOM-Africa) recently, took the enlightenment and sensitisation campaign against human trafficking to various motor parks and streets in Awka, the Anambra state capital.
The NGO that walked the streets in company of the Nigerian Girls Guides Association (NGGA) and media partners, marched from the popular Aroma Junction to motor parks at UNIZIK Junction through Regina Caeli Junction to the Okpuno axis of Awka metropolis.
The road walk was in commemoration of the 2019 World Day Against Human Trafficking with the theme, “Call Your Government to Action.”
Recall that the world day against trafficking in persons, aims at creating awareness, informing and educating the people on the prevalent dangers of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants where many vulnerable women, men and children are being cruelly exploited. They are coerced into working in factories, fields and brothels or begging on the streets; pushed into armed combat or forced marriages or trafficked that their organs may be harvested and sold.
Addressing journalists during the show, the director and founder of INTACOM-Africa, Hope Okoye, expressed gratitude to God for the positive result so far achieved in the fight against human trafficking by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), other sister agencies and NGOs; but said they will not rest on their oars until the act is completely eliminated from the country.
She informed that the recent upgrade of Nigeria to tier two in the 2019 US trafficking in persons report released by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is a testimonial to buttress her claim, even as she described Nigeria as vulnerable for trafficking.
“Nigeria is a country of origin, transit and destination and Anambra state is also a state of origin for migrants and victims of human trafficking. Trafficking in persons affects young girls and boys, women, children and young men. They are being lured with promises of abroad for good job opportunities, but at the end, they are being used and exploited and trafficked for different purposes.
“Some are trafficked for the purpose of forced prostitution, slavery, organ harvesting, street begging and forced labour. But we are letting our people know that we are priceless.
“This year, the United Nations office on drug and crime that has the global mandate on the issue of human trafficking is focusing on the government action; but all hands are expected to be on deck to fight this scourge.
According to the global report on human trafficking, Nigeria has been upgraded to tier two and we are optimistic that one day, we shall get to tier one through collaborative effort. NAPTIP, government and civil society are all trying their best to end human trafficking in Nigeria,” she said.
On her part, Anambra state commissioner, Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA), Helen Obi, however, attributed causes of human trafficking to greed, unemployment and insecurity in the county, saying that the traffickers lack respect for human dignity.
“There is no day that passes without children, mainly the girl children, being trafficked in Nigeria and being subjected to undesirable situation. Trafficking implies that we don’t have respect for the dignity of human being which is against the 1999 constitution.
“One of the causes of trafficking in Nigeria is greed; Nigerians are never contented. They want to eject out of the country for greener pasture. Arm conflict is another cause of human trafficking. As long as insecurity remains in Nigeria, trafficking will remain because, children and youths are being incorporated and initiated into arms hunting.
“In Nigeria, efforts are being made to ensure that trafficking is stopped. We are in this partnership to see how we could prohibit trafficking in the society as it is the most pronounced violence against the girl child.
“NGGA is a paralegal orgainsation that cares for the girl child. Our mission and vision say that all girls are valued. If they are valued, we need to take our destiny in our hands to change it, and that is why we are partnering INTACOM- Africa to end human trafficking within the Nigeria society,” she said.