By Olubukola Aiyedogbon
Ilorin, April 29, 2021 (NAN) The Network of CSOs Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) has identified poverty and insecurity as major contributors to the increase in Traffick in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM).
The state Coordinator of the organisation in Kwara, Mr Oyedeji Olufemi, said this on Thursday during a sensitisation campaign at Lafiagi in Edu Local Government Area of the state on prevention of TIP and SOM.
Oyedeji said the programme was sponsored by the European Union and is aimed at supporting the Nigerian Government to reduce human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a gross violation of human right, we are calling on community and opinion leaders to raise their voice to ensure that our women and girls are protected from being trafficked.
“Some of them are trafficked to other countries and they die on these trips or lose somebody parts. So we advise parents to disallow their children from embarking on illegal and irregular migration,” he said.
“Poverty and insecurity have contributed to the increase in TIP, but we are saying there is no gain in illegal migration and trafficking in persons.
“We will take this sensitisation campaign to all border communities in the state to ensure there is a stop to TIP and SOM,” he stressed.
Mr Joseph Sanwo, the Senior Project Officer of A-TIPSON, while speaking with newsmen, said: “We are here at the Emir’s palace in Lafiagi to raise awareness on the dangers of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
“Traffickers do not know men, women or children, but their target is every human being, we need to let people know this.
“The government should continue to encourage and partner with organisations to create more awareness on this issue.
“I thank the Emir of Lafiagi for hosting us, NACTAL, the Kwara government, ministry of women affairs, for putting up this campaign and the EU and FIIAPP for the support at implementing this programme,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Kwara, Hajia Afusat Ibrahim, said Edu LGA was one of the areas with the highest prevalence in human trafficking in the state.
“We are very grateful to the European Union funded A-TIPSON and FIIAP for their timely intervention to complement the efforts of the state government to sensitise our people on the hazard involved in trafficking humans.
“These people do it ignorantly to make ends meet, but it cannot alleviate our poverty. We need to let them know that it has to be stopped.
“We want the Edu local government, the community and other stakeholders to join us on this sensitisation campaign against trafficking, labour and abuse of our children,” she said.
The Chairman, Transition Implementation Committee of Edu LGC, Mr Mohammed Aliyu, said that trafficking was a major issue in the area, adding that there is need for more awareness on the importance of education.
Aliyu appreciated the coming of the group to sensitise the people describing it as a timely visit.
“Most of our women are not educated. When you go outside the state you see our women hawking herbal concoctions and doing nothing.
“We are ready to collaborate with you in order to take this awareness to the grass roots.
“This is important to us because we cannot have the desired change without education,” the chairman said.
Speaking on behalf of the Emir of Lafiagi, Alhaji Sanni Mohammed, appreciated the group for the visit, adding that human trafficking destroys the future of children.
Mohammed said that there has always been awareness on the dangers of trafficking, noting that the visit would also be an eye opener for the people.
He said the community was ready to support advocacies toward reducing TIP and SOM in the area.
The NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Mr Saadu Mustapha, while addressing the people, said that the penalty for trafficking ranged from six months to life imprisonment.
Mustapha urged parents especially mother’s in the community to resist every attempt by unknown persons to take their children.
He warned them about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, adding that it can lead to loss of life of the victims.
“Depending on the level of involvement of the culprit, there used to be an option of fine but there is no option of fine anymore.
“This is a responsibility for all of us, the government is doing its bit and the community also has role to play in speaking out when anything is wrong.
“We must all fight and resist trafficking, abuse and child labour and that is what NAPTIP is constantly doing, raising awareness on TIP and SOM,” he said.
Hajia Fati Kadir, the Wakili Mata Lafiagi (Women Leader), advised women against releasing their children to traffickers, warning that there is no gain in it.
“It is better if children go to school or learn skills so that they can be useful to themselves.
“Allow children go to school, education is very vital and also allow them learn skills, so that they can be independent while waiting for government jobs,” she advised.
Some of the indigent women at the event told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) separately that they were not happy giving out their children to labour, but that their children had no jobs.
Madam Amina Mohammed said: “We thank you for coming today, but we must let you know our problems too.
“We have been told that we should send our children to school but when we send them to school, when they graduate they have no jobs.
“Some of us borrow money to send these children to school and we have no other means to pay back.
“So we want the government to provide jobs for our children.”
Mrs Fatimah Yahaya, an elderly woman, said: “We are old, it is what our children get that they give us to eat.
“They also do not have jobs, we cannot cater for them and ourselves and that is why we allow them go to places to work.
“But if government gives our children job they will not go anywhere.”
NAN also reports that the group had earlier visited the Palace of the Emir of Lafiagi and the Edu Local government office as part of the advocacy.
Human trafficking: Poverty, insecurity contributes to rise
By Olubukola Aiyedogbon