By Naomi Sharang
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has decried the high rate of human trafficking in Nigeria and called for concerted efforts to end the scourge.
Ekweremadu made the call at an event organised by Devatop Centre for Africa Development to mark the 2017 World Day against Trafficking in Persons at the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja.
Relying on recent statistics by the Global Slavery Index, he said that it was disturbing and worrisome that no fewer than 875,500 persons were trafficked annually.
He said that the statistics, which showed that 45.8 million people living in one form of slavery or the other in about 167 countries around the world, was frightening.
Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria was a source, transit as well as destination of persons, including women and children trafficked for prostitution, forced labour, and other forms of dehumanising servitude and exploitation.
He enjoined Nigerians and the international community to end the illicit trade.
He said that human trafficking syndicates were powerful and operated with the collaboration of corrupt persons in agencies entrusted with law enforcement and protection of persons across the world.
“The World Day against Trafficking in Persons is a reminder that the war against the scourge is one we are very capable of winning.
“It is a call to renew our resolve not only to track down and bring the perpetrators to book, but also to cut their supply chains,” Ekweremadu said.
He said that poverty among other factors, was the cause of trafficking in persons as it predisposed victims to desperation into false greener pasture, “not knowing that they are jumping from `the frying pan into the fire.’
He also bemoaned the high number of Nigerians driven into suicidal self-trafficking missions across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean.
Ekweremadu, therefore, called for more job creation and better economic environment as major panacea to human trafficking.
“A substantial reduction in poverty will certainly reduce the vulnerability of our citizens who would not ordinarily be lured into the hands of human traffickers.
“We must, therefore, embark on policies that promote massive job creation, equal opportunity, and generally more conducive economic environment for the citizens.” (NAN)