CLEEN Foundation, an NGO, and National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) have called for collaboration with the media to tackle the menace of human trafficking.
Mrs Ruth Olofin, Acting Director of CLEEN Foundation, made the call on Friday at a Media and Civil Society Round Table on Human Trafficking and Forced Migration in Lagos State.
Olofin, represented by Blessing Abiri, Programme Advisor, CLEEN Foundation, said that the media played an important role in eradicating human trafficking and irregular migration in the country.
“It is imperative to note that the success of curbing any societal problem depends largely on effective communication of the facts, circumstances and issues on this menace.
“Communication of the facts lies with the mainstream and social media in Nigeria playing an effective and dynamic role in promoting social change in human trafficking and forced migration as they serve as key drivers for the spread of information or misinformation about human trafficking.
“CLEEN Foundation recognises the strategic importance the media plays in mobilising public support and involvement to help prevent and combat trafficking owing to their reach and ability to mould public opinion.
“The importance of the media in the fight against human trafficking cannot be overemphasized, so we implore organisations and communities to collaborate with the media to eradicate human trafficking,” she said.
Mr Aganran Alao, NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Commander, said the effective means of tackling human trafficking was through strong coordinated partnership.
Alao, who was represented by Mrs Hajara Tunde-Osho, Public Relations Officer of the Agency, added that the media had key roles to play in tackling the menace.
“Over the years, the agency has identified the only way to effectively tackle human trafficking and irregular migration due to its multi faceted nature is through strong coordinated partnership.
“It would be folly not to recognise the immense importance of the media if we are to effectively tackle human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria.
“Often times, many identify prevailing socio-economic situations as key push or pull factors that leads to the continuous proliferation of human trafficking and irregular migration but a closer look paints a picture of ignorance.
“Lack of key information that would ordinarily have protected a migrant from being vulnerable to any form of exploitation are not considered.
“The media can put public pressure to improve government performance and this is just one of several ways that the media can help in the fight of human trafficking.” he said.
Ms Soyem Osakwe, Communication Expert and Consultant, urged the media to thrive in protecting the victims of human trafficking.
“It is very important that the media should always strive to protect the personal details of victims as this can harm their safety and cause embarrassment.
“The victims are fragile and they need all the protection they need, so exposing them, their identities can cause severe damage to their mental health and make it difficult to reintegrate into their communities,” she said.
Emmanuella Izu, a Gender Expert, urged organisations to intensify creation of awareness at the grassroots level.
“We need to increase and sustain the awareness of the adverse effects of human trafficking and irregular migration to people at the grassroots level because they are the most vulnerable.
“Continuous enlightenment programme must be carried out in the local communities on a regular basis,” she said. (NAN)