Serious crime with long term effects

CLEEN Foundation recently organised a media chat to mark the Human Trafficking Awareness Day to deliberate on the rising crime. Gboyega Alaka reports.


IN commemoration of this year’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day, CLEEN Foundation, last Monday, January 11, held a media chat among major stakeholders in the country to deliberate on the rising menace of human trafficking and chart the way forward.

Present at the event, which held at the CLEEN Foundation Lagos Office, included Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, a director of CLEEN Foundation, who moderated; Mr Aganran Ganiu Alao, Zonal Commander, NAPTIP (National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons) Zonal Command, SR Patricia Ebegbulem, Coordinator of BAKHITA Empowerment Network, DCP Margaret Ochalla, Force Gender Coordinator and Adviser to the Inspector General of Police on Gender Matters and Elder Ademola Osibeluwo, CDC Chairman, Igando Ikotun LCDA, Alimosho LGA, Lagos, as discussants.

CLEEN Executive Director, Benson Alegbuo  speaking from Abuja via Zoom, disclosed that the foundation “on the 25th of June, 2020 launched the “Preventing forced migration and trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria: Build resilience, promote sustainable development” project in response to the worrisome rates of trafficking of women and girls and the harsh realities they face especially during and at the destination countries.”

He said the project is supported by the UN Women and is essentially to identify a range of gaps, challenges and priorities for future policy programmes towards increasing gender-sensitive information and awareness., working closely with NAPTIP.

Stressing that human trafficking in persons is a serious crime with negative long-term effects on the victims and society at large, Alegbuo said the media chat was to promote an understanding of critical trafficking issues and expected roles of stakeholders in its prevention.

In what looked like a frank assessment of the state of affairs in the country, Sr. Ebegbulem said the rise and continued rise in the cases of human trafficking, which has been described as the second largest crime in the world, is the loss of the right values in our homes and society.

She said a situation where the society only celebrates wealth, without bothering about the source is dangerous and would not augur well for the country.

Stressing that majority of the children in her organisation’s home are products of broken homes, she said, “Parents should make every effort to bring up their children properly, including the sacrifice to stay together in spite of any kind any differences that may arise.”

She said the children should be taught to respect the opposite sexes, stressing that when this is properly inculcated, the boys would have respect for the female-folk and not see them as mere objects of pleasure.

Laying more emphasis on the home, she said, “It is the home that gives stability during time of crisis.”

While commending Ebegbulem’s delivery, Effah-Chukwuma however sounded a note of caution on the emphasis on home, saying homes where fathers molest their daughters do not qualify to be addressed as such.

On his part, the NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Aganran Ganiu Alao said the agency  is adopting the five P-approaches, namely: Policy, Prevention, Prosecution, Protection and Partnership; towards countering the menace.

He said his emphasis on the day would be on prevention, which bothers on awareness creation. This, he said entails adequate communication.

He said part of what the agency does is to bring up a communication policy and ensure that its officials go into the communities to sensitise them through rallies. This, he said the agency does, by involving stakeholders, including traditional rulers, community leaders, youths trade unions and market leaders.

“The essence of this whole effort,” he said, ” is to ensure that the agency reaches the victim before the traffickers.”

Describing what the victims go through, Alao said, “Apart from the fact that their rights are taken away from them when they are trafficked, they are subjected to a lot of degrading conditions that make them to look like slaves.”

Speaking on the topic: ‘Promoting community engagement and awareness creation, Elder Ademola Osibeluwo said, while the government may be trying its best possible, it has failed largely because it has failed to realise the importance of community leaders.

He said the government unfortunately believes in speaking English, well above the understanding of the people, rather than coming to their grassroots level, adding that there are lots of things the government can achieve, if it allows the community members to be part of the system.

He commended the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for bringing the whole human trafficking menace to the attention of the community leaders through NAPTIP.

He blamed a lot of the crimes going on in the society on the misuse of the social media, even as he recognised its positives and called on parents to monitor their children’s activities on the social media.

He therefore recommended community dialogue as a way forward because, according to him, community leaders are more suited to reach out to the people because they don’t expect anything in return other than the wellbeing of their children.

DSP  Ochalla expressed hopes that the media chat would further raise awareness on the crime. She said there is need for a synergy among a stakeholders and security agencies in the country to effectually combat the crime.

She cited women subjugation and lack of funding on the part of the police as factors enhancing the unsavoury act.




Source: The Nation

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