By Felicia Imohimi
The fight against human-trafficking is becoming tougher following the training of 120 Law students by the Centre for Africa Development on anti-human trafficking, in collaboration with other agencies.
Mr Joseph Osuigwe, the centre director, made this disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He listed the collaborating agencies as the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
Osuigwe noted that the training was aimed at equipping lawyers with the requisite knowledge and raising them as anti-human trafficking advocates in order to make them vocal for the victims.
The director, who said victims of human trafficking were everywhere, noted that they were not gullible people but elements of circumstances, due to poverty and policy delinquency.
“No one should shy away from the fact that exploitation of victims of human trafficking is a man-made inclination.
“The quest to see the end to human trafficking is one that demands the unification and aggregation of individuals in various fields to effectively overcome the menace, which is not just peculiar to Nigeria and Africa alone but the world in general.
“The United Nations Statistics on Human Trafficking posits that an estimated 27 million women, girls, boys and men are currently victims of human trafficking globally.
“This, therefore is an indication that everyone has a role to play; the market women, the young ones, the old, lawyers, professionals and the private sectors; and if something is not done now to stop this, something worse will happen,” he said.
The director said that trainees were expected to actively get involved in combating human trafficking through legal pro-bono services, research, and awareness creation on inherent dangers in human trafficking.
Osuigwe attributed obstacles to the realisation of access to justice and legal representation of victims to the delay in the administration of justice; as in the disposition of cases and the execution of orders or decrees granting awards to victims.
Other challenges, according to him, are lack of understanding of the victim’s right among judges, untrained legal practitioners and lack of pro-bono services for victims of human trafficking.
According to him, the efforts will go a long way in bridging the gap of access to justice by victims among other challenges.
“To address these obstacles, Devatop, through her project, ‘End Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration Advocacy tagged: “Voices4Victims” partnered with NAPTIP and FIDA,” he said.
The director, however, advised lawyers to always speak up for victims, defend their right and also meet their human rights’ needs.
“As an advocate, you have to speak out and take action on behalf of others; advocacy is very exciting because you derive pleasure in fighting for good cause and sometimes, the thrill of victory”.