The Network of CSOs Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) has sensitised Kwara stakeholders on prevention of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM).
The event held in Ilorin on Monday in collaboration with the Kwara Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (A-TIPSOM).
It is funded by the European Union and the Spanish government through International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).
The of State Coordinator of NACTAL in Kwara, Mr Femi Oyedeji, said that response to human trafficking is a collective responsibility.
Oyedeji said that these children are used for sexual exploitation, molestation, domestic servitude and forced labour, adding that there is a trend in trafficking in the state.
“Nigeria is a source, transit and destination for trafficking in persons and Kwara is one of the most vulnerable states when it comes to activities of traffickers.
“Kwara is a known state between the Northern and the Southern part of the country and when they are bringing goods and services, they use that opportunity to traffick children,” he said.
He appreciated the Nigeria Police Force and National Orientation Agency, saying that the coming of FIIAP is not a one-off programme but a long term intervention.
“We have observed the trend in trafficking in Kwara, intra state, interstate and cross border trafficking.
“This programme is to ensure synergy among stakeholders to fight trafficking. We also urge transporters to expose traffickers instead of helping them to transport these children”, he said.
The Senior Project Officer, A-TIPSOM, Mr Joseph Sanwo, said that the goal of the sensitisation and enlightenment campaign was to ensure early identification and prevention of trafficking in high-risk communities in the state.
Sanwo said that the programme was part of the effort to increase knowledge of community stakeholders on the dangers of human trafficking and irregular migration.
“International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) supported Network of CSOs Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) will carry out sensitisation events in Ilorin and also at Lafiagi, in Edu LGA of Kwara.
“The programme, which was supported under Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, is funded by the European Union.
“The stakeholders become anti-trafficking advocates in their respective clusters or communities,” he said.
He said that the stakeholders would be enlightened on the dangers of human trafficking and how it can be prevented and to conduct community sensitisation and enlightenment campaign on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in the state.
“It is really a great pleasure to have the support of the European Union towards increasing public awareness on prevention of human trafficking in Kwara and Nigeria at large.
“We appreciate the Ministry of Women Affairs in Kwara, the Spanish government FIIAPP and NACTAL in identifying the need for advocacy against TIP and SOM,” he said.
The state Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Afusat Ibrahim, said that the prevalence of human trafficking in the state was high.
“We have our girls being trafficked to other states where they are being slaved, raped and are exposed to many hazards in the process.
“And the government is also not relenting at ensuring that the menace is curbed.
“Just recently, 29 of our girls were trafficked and the perpetrators were apprehended and are facing the law.
“This will serve as a deterrent to others who are into the business of trafficking.
“We are out in full force to stand up against issues of child abuse, gender based violence and trafficking with the assistance of our Gov. Abdul Rahman AbdulRazaq.
“The ministry goes out on monthly basis to the market places, the rural areas, to sound note of warning to mother’s so that they know the dangers of releasing their children to trafficking, smuggling and illegal migration,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that present at the event were Mr Saadu Mustapha, the Zonal Commander NAPTIP; Mr Ajayi Okasanmi, Poluce spokesman Kwara Command; representatives of NOA, Human Rights Commission, FRSC, Nigeria Immigration Service and transport unions, among others.
NAN also reports that the group will conduct similar campaign in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of the state on Thursday. (NAN)