By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), has called for a multi-sectoral approach and collaboration in tackling the menace of trafficking in persons, especially women and girls in the country.
Obi made the call in a statement issued in Lokoja on Tuesday as part of activities marking the 2019 International Day against Trafficking in Persons.
In the statement signed by Ms Lola Ayanda, Communications Coordinator of the organisation, Obi described ActionAid as a human rights organisation working with the poor and excluded groups to promote their rights.
ActionAid, she added, was also in the business of empowering people living in poverty to take necessary actions to end poverty, deprivations and despondency.
“Poverty, limited education, lack of economic opportunities and insecurity remain some of the main factors leading people, especially women and girls, to engage in human trafficking.
“As a nation, our efforts to tackle human trafficking must focus on addressing the root causes of poverty in our society.
“It entails working to ensure that every Nigerian, especially women and girls, have an opportunity to live a life of dignity and make social progress.
‘‘Citizens and governments at all level must wake up to challenge this monster.
“The human trafficking industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide and it will take collective, consistent and decisive efforts to overcome the challenge of human trafficking.
“Some of those involved in trafficking of persons for prostitution and cheap labour are well placed and connected in the society but there must be no sacred cows in this fight.
“Human trafficking is a crime and the law enforcement agencies must wake up and bring justice for the oppressed,” she said.
Obi noted that ActionAid, in an effort to tackle the root causes of human trafficking and forced migration, had empowered 25,844 women and young adults in the last three years.
Obi said the intervention was through training, mentoring, provision of start-up grants and equipment for the launch of productive activities.
She called on governments and other non-governmental organisations to imbibe and scale up such interventions.
“At ActionAid Nigeria, we believe that building the agency of citizens and contributing to improving their socio-economic conditions will reduce their vulnerability to human trafficking and other forms of modern day slavery,” she said.