By Edoamaowo Udeme
The Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Aruna Amirthanayagam yesterday, noted that trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights as men, women and children are bought and sold as disposable human beings.
This was revealed when the U.S. Embassy organized a panel discussion in commemoration of the 2018 World Day against Human Trafficking.
The event which took place at the US Embassy Abuja kicked off With the Theme, “Combating Human Trafficking: A National Priority”.
Aruba said slavery did not start in Africa but existed in Neolithic Europe.
Comparing drug trade, Aruna said, ” In the drug trade, commodities can only be sold and used once but in human trafficking, an individual can be sold over and over and over again”.
“Unfortunately even after the abolition of slavery the exploitation of people didn’t go
away, it is happening now, even on this day, even as I give these remarks” he added
One of the panellists, the Executive Director Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation, (WOTCLEF), Imaobong Ladipo-Sanusi, stressed the need to look inward and act and not wait for government. “People are exploited everyday, imagine a girl exploited by her aunt and she is made to sleep with 16 men everyday”
“As a psychologist, I started noticing this menace and used my sitting room for therapy before I was invited by the Mrs Titi Atiku Abubakar to handle WOTCLEF”
“So far, we have rehabilitated over 10,600 people” Imabong added
Representing National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) The Assistant Director, Mrs Ebele Ulasi noted that there are two types of trafficking; External and Internal.
“While the external is travelling abroad, the internal is sex abuse, sex labour especially in brothels, harvesting organs and baby sales syndrome”
“If you adopt children illegally you are also patronizing baby sales syndrome” Ebele stressed
“The vibrant human work force and the future hope of any nation depletes once people are enslaved” Ebele added.
“I have come across a girl who was used as sex slave and was made to sleep with 22 men a day”
“NAPTIP has rehabilitated and reintegrated over 12, 000 people and 375 are currently serving jail terms for traficking” she noted
Worldwide, an estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 16 million (64%) were exploited for labor, 4.8 million (19%) were sexually exploited, and 4.1 million (17%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labor.
Forced labor takes place in many different industries. Of the 16 million trafficking victims exploited for labor 7.5 million (47%) forced labor victims work in construction, manufacturing, mining, or hospitality.
3.8 million (24%) forced labor victims are domestic workers 1.7 million (11%) forced labor victims work in agriculture 71% of trafficking victims around the world are women and girls and 29% are men and boys.
The Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced laborers – 15.4 million (62% of the global total). Africa has 5.7 million (23%) followed by Europe and Central Asia with 2.2 million (9%). The Americas
account for 1.2 million (5%) and the Arab States account for 1% of all victims.
Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad.
Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.