President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking better legislation to protect citizens especially women and girls from violence,even as he decried the startling figure indicating that 60 percent of trafficked persons in Nigeria are female while about 46 percent of the trafficked are children.
Represented by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan at the Public Presentation of the Book Titled:’8 Evils of Human Trafficking’ in Abuja, on Tuesday,the President said human trafficking is one of the worst forms of slavery experienced in the 21st Century,while calling on all hands to be on deck to address the menace.
The President said,”It is totally unacceptable for traffickers to exploit the natural quest for employment and search for better economic opportunities by the youths especially,young girls,in an increasingly complex and competitive world”
Speaking on government’s efforts in addressing trafficking concerns he said,”In order to address the fundamental causes of trafficking and gaps in the existing legislature,the Ministry of women affairs and social development in collaboration with a coalition of Civil Society Organisations and Development partners undertook a 13 year campaing to secure better legislation to protect citizens especially women and girls from violence.
The campaign,he explained culminated in the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015.,adding that the law still needs to be domesticated at the state level for it to be justiciable.
While recognising the fact that trafficking is largely fueled by poverty,the President explained that his administration has approved a social Investment intervention,which have five pillars to cushion the impact of the economic down turn and stimulate increased livelihood and production efforts at the grassroot level.
He explained further that the conditional Cash Transfer and Government Enterprise and Empowerment programmes are two of the five schemes targeted at reducing poverty at the grassroots level.
Also speaking at the event,the acting director general of National Agency for the Prohibition Trafficking in Persons,(NAPTIP)Abdulrazak Dangiri said staggering numbers of Nigerian women and girls are subjected to forced prostitution in Italy, Spain, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Greece, the United Kingdom, Russia amongst others.
He also attributed the predisposing Factors of human trafficking to Poverty, general unemployment, especially amongst young graduates, collapse of social safety nets, including the abuse of the traditional fostering by family members, ignorance about the reality of life in Europe and other parts of the world, increasing global demand for illicit sex, and wide-spread illiteracy that facilitates deception by traffickers
Speaking on some of their recorded achievements in NAPTIP,he said,”The agency had seen to successful prosecution of over 300 offenders.
He said,”Over 8,000 victims received various forms of assistance from the Agency including psycho-social and medical counseling, enrolment into educational institutions, skills acquisition, empowerment with start up kits to set up own business.
Also,”Establishment of the Victims of Human Trafficking Trust Fund. Production of various publications including :National Policy for the Protection and Assistance of Children in Formal Care developed and Adopted by ECOWAS member States; Guidelines for the Protection of Children in Formal Care; National Referral Mechanism document,and establishment of 9 fully functional Shelters.
Meanwhile,former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi who was the Chairman of the book Presentation thanked the Nigerian guid of editors in organising the event with NAPTIP which he said the publicity will address raised concerns adequately.
In her own submission, Ipalibo Banigo,the deputy governor of Rivers State said the state government is working collaboratively with the NAPTIP to ensure incidences of human traffic is totally nip in the bud in the state.