Nigerian adolescents are being trafficked to neighboring countries like Ghana, Cameroon and more, all in the name of seeking greener pastures, stakeholders revealed, as they call for greater awareness. at the local level to stem the threat.
Recently, the media have been inundated with the story of three teenagers from the Akaeze community, Ivo local government area in Ebonyi State, who were trafficked to Ghana for prostitution.
These adolescents are part of more than 75% of victims of trafficking detected in West Africa, as revealed in a joint report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the National Agency for the prohibition of trafficking in persons (NAPTIP).
Most of these teenagers and their parents think poverty is prevalent in Nigeria, which is why going abroad is the right thing to do, Waheed Ishola, director of Lagos State, National Guidance Agency tells me. (NOA).
These traffickers tell all kinds of lies, to deceive parents of teenage girls, says Ishola, adding, âThey trick their parents into believing that once their children leave Nigeria, they will automatically get a job and live a better life. Many parents have fallen prey to their lies.
“Some of them had to sell their properties to pay for the transport costs of their children, not knowing that they would end up prostituting themselves,” he said.
To stop the threat, the director advocated that awareness raising, awareness programs be the way to go.
He revealed that in Lagos State, the state government has partnered with NAPTIP to raise awareness about human trafficking. âWe have also launched community awareness programs, especially in communities where this act is prevalent. We educate parents about the dangers of human trafficking and how to protect their children from victims. “
At the national level, although the government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the 2021 Report on Trafficking in Persons – Nigeria, found that it is making significant efforts to achieve this.
He added, however, that the government has made overall and increased efforts compared to the previous reporting period, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its capacity to combat trafficking; therefore Nigeria has been upgraded to Tier 2.
For example, the federal government, through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, has worked with NAPTIP to combat human trafficking, prostitution and child labor in the country.
According to the Minister for the Status of Women, Ms. Pauline Tallen, âWomen and children are the most affected in the field of human trafficking, hence the enactment of the law on the prohibition of violence against women. against persons (VAPP) and the law on the rights of the child.
âIf NAPTIP and the ministry worked together, the two organizations would be in a better position to monitor the impact of trafficking in women, prostitution and child labor. “
The collaboration paved the way for the fact that in 2021, federal and state authorities investigated 409 cases, prosecuted 49 suspects and convicted 36 traffickers in 2021. NAPTIP said it opened 381 new investigations (243 sex trafficking, 138 labor forced) and prosecuted 40 suspects. (36 sex trafficking, four forced labor).