Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Creating an economy where people can provide for themselves in a viably long manner has been identified as one of the ways of mitigating the spate of migration and trafficking in South-East, Nigeria.
Professor Joy Ezeilo, a rights activist and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, gave this hint when she featured as the Guest Speaker at the September edition of Ikengaonline Monthly town-hall meeting on Thursday.
Prof Ezeilo who spoke on the topic, “The Forgotten Victims: Combating Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault, and Gender-Based Violence in South-East Nigeria,” said there is a need for leaders in the South-East to create an economy where ordinary people can thrive in any chosen field of endeavour.
According to her, changing the lives of people experiencing poverty and disadvantage is the only way to stop the wave of migration as well as stem the tide of trafficking in the region.
Prof Ezeilo said trafficking has become a global epidemic and a spinning business venture across states in Nigeria. She said it is an ugly phenomenon that has taken the form of modern day slavery involving grievous violations of human rights.
Noting that Africa and South-East Asia have become the most implicated continents in the world, she said Nigeria became a victim because of the spate of insecurity, inequalities, and gender disparities, among others which result in cumulative violations of human rights.
Speaking further, she said: “Human trafficking is a migration gone wrong and because of the insidious nature, sometimes, it is difficult to capture it very correctly. But in every one case discovered, there are about 100 cases unreported.
“Trafficking has continued to generate huge profits for traffickers and they thrive in exploiting victims. Nigeria occupies an unenviable status in the comity of nations and Igbo people are implicated because they love traveling.”
She said there is need to look at the phenomenon as something disturbing particularly in Nigeria.
“We have to address the root causes of human trafficking and the factors that exacerbate it. The desperation to leave the country is increasing because of the economic situation of the country.
“We need to fight the ugly phenomenon. Prosecution is key, but to achieve that, we need to improve the capacities of frontline officers and ensure collaborations between the law enforcement officers.
“There should be sensitisation and awareness so that people will know the warning signs for trafficking so that when they try to japa, they will not also fall prey to traffickers.”