By Gami Tadanyigbe
Abuja – Devatop Centre for African Development (DCAD), an NGO, has called on religious and traditional rulers to sensitise their wards to the dangers inherent in human trafficking and irregular migration.
Mr Joseph Osuigwe, the Executive Director of the organisation, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday, during a panel debate on human trafficking in Nigeria organised by the United State Embassy.
According to him, there is the need for adequate sensitisation and awareness at the grassroot on human trafficking and irregular migration to curb the menace in the country.
The executive director revealed that victims of human trafficking were often forced into prostitution, pornography, child labour, suicide bombing and ritual activities in other countries.
He said that human trafficking was largely responsible for the humanitarian crisis around the globe, hence the need for adequate sensitisation and awareness to curb it.
“Nigeria has become a fertile ground for human trafficking with the highest number of victims, due to lack of social protection for those living in poverty.
“Human trafficking seems to concern only civil society organisations, may be because political leaders feel it does not affect them directly.
“So, I call on traditional and religious leaders in the country to talk to their wards on the dangers of human trafficking and illegal migration.
“The government should also put up good laws that will prohibit and, if possible, bring trafficking to a complete end,”he said.
The director urged government and civil society organisations to tackle the seemingly endless losses of Nigerian lives caused by irregular illicit migration, calling for a political commitment to end it.
“From what is happening, human trafficking has become an endemic problem in Nigeria; even the rich are not totally exempted from the negative impact of this outbreak, if not checked.
“It has become important to curb the activities of persons engaged in the illicit and irregular migration business. We must all take this task seriously,” Osuigwe said.
The director, however, advised youths to desist from attitudes that would make them vulnerable to being lured into prostitution and other crimes.
Osuigwe also urged the National Assembly to support the call by enacting stiffer laws against human trafficking in the country.