By Joseph Osuigwe Chidiebere
Slavery was abolished more than 150 years ago, but there exist more people in modern slavery than any other time in human history. Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime industry with a net worth of 32 billion dollars generated from the exploitation of over 27 million victims worldwide.
There are over 700,000 human trafficking victims in Nigeria overtime. More than 45, 000 women, girls and children in Nigeria are trafficked annually within and outside borders. 80% of the victims are young people, 50% are children and over 70% are women and girls. At least 50 million people in Nigeria are vulnerable to human trafficking.
Human trafficking remains a great threat to our economy, development, advancement, and human capital. It saps the very potential of our nation by frustrating the aspiration of our women, youth and children. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime”.
According to The Trafficking Protocol, Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
People are trafficked for sexual exploitation or forced prostitution, pornographic production, labour exploitation, organ removal, rituals, forced marriage, suicide bombing or terrorism, and other related servitude.
Some of the things that contribute to human trafficking include: poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, ignorance, greediness/lack of contentment among young people and parents, devaluation of women and children’s human rights, increased demand for sex & cheap labour.
Also communal crises and displacements increase human trafficking. Over 3 million people displaced as a result of insurgency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States of Nigeria are at a higher risk of being trafficked.
The victims suffer from lack of self-esteem, emotional disturbance, disorientation, depression, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS that they further pass on to the men and their partners, rejection and discrimination in the family and community, humiliation, guilt, eating and sleeping disorder, phobias, panic attacks, and anxiety. More than 30, 000 victims of human trafficking die every year as a result of abuse, hunger, diseases, torture, etc.
According to Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Canadian writer, broadcaster and journalist, Dr. Reuven Bulka, once remarked, “If we don’t stand up for this and these atrocities continue to happen, we can’t justify ourselves, and we can’t explain to our kids how we were silent when this thing happened.”
We can’t keep silent at this evil. We can’t close our eyes to it. We can’t pretend as if it doesn’t exist. We have to take action, and nothing but action.
To celebrate Human Trafficking Awareness Month, you can take action to combat human trafficking by doing the following among other activities:
- Organize an anti-human trafficking seminar in communities or schools.
- Organize a music, song, dance, or drama concert about human trafficking.
- Organize a street show or walk against human trafficking.
- Organize an anti-human trafficking quiz or debate for schools.
- Donate, support or volunteer for organizations involved in combating human trafficking.
- Organize a town hall meeting to sensitize villagers about human trafficking.
- Observe and report suspected human trafficking activities in your area.
- Write articles, stories, or create songs about human trafficking.
- Do a social media campaign: Like posting human trafficking information on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Organize a talk show, symposium, or discussion on human trafficking.
Joseph Osuigwe Chidiebere is coordinator, The Academy for Prevention of Human Trafficking and other related matters (a subsidiary of Devatop Centre for Africa Development)
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