By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) -. As Nigeria joins the rest of the globe to celebrate this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons, FIDA Nigeria has calls on all the relevant stakeholders to build the capacity of the masses on digital literacy.
FIDA while re-echoing that the theme of this year’s World Day is “Use and abuse of technology”, added that ot focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.
The Country Vice /National President of FIDA Nigeria, Mrs Amina Suzanah Agbaje who stated this in a statement she personally signed, reminded that the UNODC’s Global report on trafficking says the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation which stands at 79%.
The statement titled “World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2022“Use and abuse of technology” reads in full:
We live in a world of technology, and it has become an integral part of our daily lives shaping everything we do. As we commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2022, with the theme “Use and abuse of technology” we find this theme apt as perpetrators of trafficking have continued to evolve.
This year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.
It is reported that Traffickers currently use technology to profile, recruit, control and exploit their victims as well as using the Internet, (especially the dark web), to hide illegal materials stemming from trafficking in addition to hiding their real identities from investigators.
Trafficking in persons is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them (UNODC). This is a grave violation of one’s human right. As with the rest of the world, trafficking in persons poses a great challenge in Nigeria, some of the regular cases of trafficking in Nigeria as reported by NAPTIP include forced migration, sex trafficking, recruitment of persons for organ harvesting, trafficking in slaves, attempt to commit an offence under this Act, tampering with evidence, forced marriage, illegal adoption, custody battle and abuse of Power
According to UNODC’s Global report on trafficking the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation (79%); and often times the victims of sexual exploitation are frequently girls. Similarly, the 2021 report by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTP) indicates that 1,112 cases of trafficking in persons were reported in the year under review with 35.8% being cases of sexual exploitation and illegal migration which in most cases are for prostitution.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of trafficked victims constitute children with the larger chunk from west Africa (Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020, UNODC).
Due to the rising incidence of trafficking in this part of the world, we must take deliberate steps toward mitigating this challenge.
Often times, victims of trafficking are exploited because of their vulnerabilities such as the desire to escape domestic violence, poverty, mental or physical disabilities, homelessness, and migration for greener pastures.
With the global advancement in technological space, especially in communications, information of users on the World Wide Web is now previewed to a wider range of people, depending on the user’s privacy settings, personal information could even be accessed by strangers.
The role of technology in aiding and abetting victims of trafficking cannot be ignored either, perpetrators have transitioned from physical means of recruitment to virtual, technology most especially, social media serves as a platform where perpetrators can access potential victims due to their vulnerabilities and even computer illiteracy.
In most cases, the perpetrators impersonate certain positions they are not in a bid to lure online targets based on the information gotten from their interactions, these challenges are not only limited to the use of technology for the act but also as a means.
Victims can be sexually exploited by distributing pornographic content gotten illegally, the mental effect on the victim can take a long time as long as these materials remain in circulation; other effects can be stigmatization and withdrawal from society.
The DG of NAPTIP Dr Fatima Waziri–Azi, in the 2022 counter-trafficking strategic approach meeting reported cases of trafficking and other forms of exploitation via online means with a surge since the beginning of covid-19. Pandemic.
There have been several incidences, one of which is worthy of note which is the case of Iniubong Umoren who was in search for a job on social media, she was lured to a fake job interview and was eventually raped and killed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
It is no doubt that trafficking has become a recurrent challenge in Nigeria and the world at large.
Despite its obvious challenges, technology is also an important asset for combatting trafficking which includes awareness creation on how trafficking networks operate, aid investigations, provide services to victims.
FIDA Nigeria calls on all the relevant stakeholders to build the capacity of the masses on digital literacy. Also harness technology in efforts to counter trafficking in persons by imploring all necessary tools.
• Use of technology such as: social media, facial recognition, geofencing and geotagging to track perpetrators.
• Strategic collaboration and synergy between CSOs, Government agencies and security apparatus. For example, NAPTIP’s collaboration with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to enhance tracing and diligent investigation of all cases relating of child abuse and human trafficking.
FIDA Nigeria appreciates the hard work agencies and ministries of government including NGOs are doing in this respect and pledges continued support in the fight against human trafficking, as we will continue to partner with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to ensure that women and children can live in a society free from exploitation and abuse
FIDA NIGERIA stands against all forms of trafficking humans, let’s put an end to it.
Amina Suzanah Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice /National President