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Edo Women

The Menace Of Human Tradfficking

By Andrew Uwa-Emwanta Esq

TO begin this piece, it is instructive to note that recently, Nigeria was elevated by a U.S based international body into category 1 of countries actively involved in the fight against human trafficking. Unlike the menace of corruption for which Nigeria is in the list of what may be termed endangered species, human trafficking remains a social malaise whose victims include under-aged children a majority of whom are either Orphans or under-privileged. Equally, young girls of High-school age, who more often than not are not willing to abandon their educational pursuits are forced by their Euro-Dollar-thirsty parents, (or guardians), into the hands of traffickers who convey them to Europe to be used as sex machines.

Arising from the foregoing, it is noteworthy that the dawning of each day brings with it new developments that either positively or negatively affects our society as a whole. As such, the positive recognition given to the Nigerian Government as aforementioned is highly commendable but it will be too early to say Uhuru just as the political analysts will say.

The recent deportation of illegal Nigerian immigrants in Libya is indeed an incident which gives our dear nation a negative image in the eye of the international community. I believe that no amount of “re-branding”, (to use the mantra of the Information Minister) will save the situation if urgent steps are not taken to nip the recurring problem in the bud.

Incidentally, a majority of those deported from Libya were young girls of Edo State origin, who obviously were Europe-bound travellers, but their unholy pilgrimage was cut-short by the ever — conscious Libya Law Enforcement Agents. The question that always comes to mind when I hear about incidents like this is what about the Traffickers? Is it that the persons that traffic (or convey) these young girls via Libya to Europe for prostitution are immune from deportation and consequent prosecution by the Nigerian Government?

I believe that the foregoing posers will serve as a necessary food for thought for NAPTIP, (an acronym for National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons), the statutory body saddled with the duty of combating the menace of human trafficking in Nigeria.

Again, the recent visit of top officials of the anti-human trafficking Agency to Edo State may not be unconnected to the immediate response of the Federal government to the negative effect of the deportation saga on the image of Nigeria and Edo State in particular. What is more! The presence of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for justice, Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa during the flag-off campaign against human trafficking in the State held at Sam Ogbemudia Stadium further explains the seriousness of the matter.

The assurance given by the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that his administration will be actively involved in the fight against human trafficking, which he physically expressed by flagging the symbolic red card against human trafficking is indeed a saving grace for potential victims of human trafficking. Very recently, I had the opportunity of interacting one-on-one with one of the recent deportees from Libya and she gave a blow by blow account of her ordeal in the hands of the knavorious Nigerian, of Edo State origin, who fraudulently promised her of a safe trip to Europe (via Niger Republic enroute Libya).

In my subsequent column, I promise to give our esteemed readers a vintage on the personal account of the victim, whose name will not be disclosed, but this privilege will not extend to her tormentor- in-chief whose name and inglorious pedigree you will know in due course, Deo volente.

It is to be hoped that the office of the first lady of Edo State will take up the gauntlet of joining forces with the anti-human trafficking Agency in ensuring that Edo State becomes a Lion’s den for traffickers-in-persons. I do not think they deserve the Liberty which they hitherto enjoyed in perpetrating their nefarious activities and thereby giving the State, nay Nigeria a less than honourable image. Enough of this negative re-branding. We must expose these brutes living within our domain. I believe we can collectively make the fight against trafficking in persons a result-oriented one. Yes we can!

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