Chris Steven, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said poverty remains a major reason why a large number of Nigerians were lured into human trafficking.
In his speech delivered at the public presentation of the book “Eight Evils of Human Trafficking” organised by NGE and Human Dignity Project (HDP),
by the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Al-Hassan, President lamented that about 60 percent of victims of human trafficking were women while about 46 percent were children just as he expressed the commitment of his administration to restore human rights and dignity that are being violated by human traffickers by ensuring adequate war against the menace.
“The girls they subject them to prostitution, which is very bad. So, it is the duty of all Nigerians, not only government to curb this. Government cannot do it alone. We have set the pace, we have the NAPTIP; we have the law against trafficking and now we have the VAPAS which is fixing gaps in the human trafficking Acts and we are trying by all means to have all states to domesticate it so that offenders, no matter where they are in Nigeria, if they are arrested would be prosecuted.
We have to join hands and stop it. It is inhuman and as l told you in my presentation that the government has done something them, one of the many things that it is doing under the social protection programme is the conditional cash transfer and government Enterprise and Empowerment programme.
These are two of the five Social investment Programmes for poverty reduction. The many cause of people being laud to go into this kind of thing, that is being traffic out anywhere is poverty so government is addressing that by having two of the programmes under the Social Investment Programme targeted at poverty reduction or eradication. So government is working, we want all Nigerians to join hands with government anywhere in Nigeria to help to stop this.” He said
While speaking, chairman of the of the occasion, former Governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, also described human trafficking as modern slavery and the third biggest crime in the world.
The acting Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri in his keynote address said that victims were lured with false promises of a better life in the city or abroad noting that as soon as they cross the borders, their phones and other travel documents were confiscated.
“The trafficker then claims to have incurred huge expenses associated with their passage, places huge debt burdens between 20,000- 80,000 Euros on the victim which they have to pay off to regain their freedom.
Victims are freely sold and resold as commodities and often times we find that the victims are made to take oaths with their body parts to make them bound to their captors. The victims are not paid any money and all the proceeds from their activities are paid to an agent or the trafficker.
Many victims are willing to be trafficked abroad, in the belief that they are destined for a better life and start their journey believing they are economic migrants, either legal or illegal”. He added