Devatop Centre For Africa Development Holds TALKAM World Press Conference to Commemorate 2018 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is a period to call for stronger and sustainable actions by government and citizens against human trafficking. Ending modern-day slavery requires that it is handled as a national priority by all sectors, state and non-state actors. To commemorate this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Devatop Center for Africa Development organized “TALKAM World Press Conference” to call on political leaders to take strategic actions against human trafficking. Nigeria is witnessing a high rate of human trafficking, and this should be of great concern to our political leaders. According to 2018 U.S Department of State, the Government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons.
Human trafficking is the worst form of human rights abuse and has become a global multi-billion-dollar enterprise, affecting nearly every country in the world. Human trafficking remains a great threat to our economic development, advancement, and human capital. It saps the very potential of our nation by frustrating the aspiration of our young people. Human trafficking is a weapon against young people.
Joseph Osuigwe, Executive Director of Devatop Centre for Africa Development, stated: “Nigeria has the highest number of victims of human trafficking in Africa and among the highest in the world. Trafficking flourishes in Nigeria, and globally, aided by many factors, among which is lack of political will by our leaders to combat human trafficking and neglect by states. The 2018 Global Slavery Index report shows that:
- Estimated number of people living in modern slavery (also known as human trafficking) in Nigeria is 1, 386, 000.
- At least 7 out of every 1000 people are living in modern slavery in Nigeria.
- 74 out of every 100 people are vulnerable to human trafficking in Nigeria.”
Human trafficking is now an “epidemic outbreak” in Nigeria which has affected over 1.3 million people and has the potential to affect 6 million Nigerians directly, if not tackled. Although it affects the low-income citizens, the rich are not totally exempted from the negative impact of this outbreak.
While addressing the press, Joseph Osuigwehighlighted that:
- Human trafficking has continued to thrive in Nigeria due to lack of political will and commitment by our political leaders. It is obvious that political leaders are not much interested in combating human trafficking in Nigeria, and this is an impediment to the work civil society organization and National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is doing to tackle this problem.
- Our political leaders, even those aspiring for political positions in upcoming 2019 elections, are oblivious of the epidemic nature of human trafficking, and its effect on the electorate. None of these political leaders or aspirants has shown that they have the political will and plans to combat human trafficking.
- The president, legislators and the judicial officers, and also the government at federal, state and local levels should be audacious in their public statement and commitment to combating human trafficking. Both the federal, state and local government needs to create a robust action plan to facilitate and support the fight against human trafficking in their regions and constituencies. Combating human trafficking should not be a fight only for Edo State Government and Federal Government; it must be a fight by every state government in Nigeria, irrespective of the level of prevalence in their states because human trafficking is spreading like a virus to other states. State governors need to wake up to this reality and create measures to prevent and tackle this before human trafficking becomes an epidemic in their states.
- Nigeria has become a fertile ground for human trafficking, due to the lack of social protection for those living in poverty. Political leaders enjoy social protection at the expense of poor masses. Political leaders enjoy social security at the expense of citizens. Human trafficking seems to be an issue that concerns only civil society organizations, maybe because political leaders feel that it does not affect them directly.
Our political leaders have not shown they have the political will to tackle human trafficking with a sense of urgency and emergency, just as Ebola was tackled.
State governors are ignorant of the fact that apart from Edo and few other states, that human trafficking happens in their states as well, and it is fast spreading to hundreds of communities in Nigeria. They need to create approaches to prevent human trafficking from taking hold of their states.
During the Press Conference, Devatop Centre For Africa Development called on:
- Political leaders to show sincere political will and commitment to combating and preventing human trafficking in Nigeria.
- Citizens, especially youth to hold their local and state political leaders accountable to human trafficking incidences, and demand strategic actions from them to tackle human trafficking.
- Young people not to vote any political aspirant that doesn’t have plans and approach to tackle human trafficking. Any aspirant who cannot or will not sincerely demonstrate political will and commitment to combating human trafficking has no plan to protect the future of young people. We need political leaders who can tackle human trafficking with a sense of urgency, just as Ebola was tackled.
- Citizens to contact their senators, representatives, local government chairmen, and governors and demand that they support efforts to stop human trafficking in their constituencies and states.
- Political parties to mandate their aspirants to make the fight against human trafficking among their top priorities.
About Devatop Centre for Africa Development:
Devatop Centre for Africa Development is a youth-led nonprofit organization that is committed to building a nation without human trafficking. Since inception in 2013, we have trained and engaged over 5000 young people in combating human trafficking, and have impacted over 600,000 citizens through community projects and media programmes. We are building a movement of young people against human trafficking and irregular migration. DEVATOP has helped to rescue and support three victims of human trafficking between 2017 and 2018. DEVATOP believes that while training, awareness and empowerment of victims are important, there is an urgent need for a political will and commitment among our leaders in combating human trafficking.