The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged government to address factors that drive irregular migrants to embark on dangerous journey in search of greener pasture.
Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, made the appeal at an event to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons themed, “Victims’ Voices Lead The Way” in Lagos on Friday.
The event was organised in partnership with International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
Mabogunje said that the creation of jobs, infrastructure, supporting entrepreneurship, adequate security, sensitisation on the dangers of irregular migration, quality education and vocational skills training opportunities would discourage the practice.
She said that reports by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that traffickers exploited about 25 million people annually for gains in committing horrible crimes, especially when it involved children.
Mabogunje noted that 17 per cent were trafficked for forced labour while 80 per cent were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
The LCCI boss said the statistical report of irregular migration in Nigeria by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that states with the highest number of irregular migration were Delta, Edo, Imo and Lagos States.
The LCCI President stressed that all these reinforced the need for critical reforms in the establishment of effective mechanisms that would minimise the incidence of human trafficking in Nigeria.
“Indeed, human trafficking is a challenge of extraordinary proportion and we cannot stand idly and allow this to continue,’’ Mabogunje said.
She said that victims of human trafficking had experienced ignorance and misunderstanding in their attempt to get help alongside traumatic post-rescue experience during identification interviews and legal proceedings.
Some have faced victimisation and punishment for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. Others have been subjected to stigmatisation or received inadequate support,” Mabogunje said.
She noted the roles of advocacy groups, development partners, security agencies, government parastatals, humanitarian institutions in supporting the rehabilitation and employment of survivors who are leading the campaign against human trafficking.
Mabogunje lauded the tremendous efforts of anti-human trafficking Organisations in the campaign against human trafficking.
She noted that that initiative by IOM and NAPTIP had contributed immensely to Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goals 8, 10 and 16 which had migration-related indicators.
Mrs Cecilia Dada, Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, said human trafficking was a threat to both national and international security.
Dada said that the practice desecrated the victims and led to drug trafficking, arm smuggling and terrorism.
“Human trafficking is a violation of human rights to persons recruited to do nefarious and illicit jobs.
“NAPTIP 2020 reports that the highest number of children trafficked outside Nigeria were girls between the ages of 12 and 17 years of age.
“The Lagos State Government under the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has embarked on different initiatives that ensure financial independence for women which has critical steps to boost self-reliance.
“This underscores this present administration’s commitment to women empowerment as one of the cardinal policies to make capital reliance to expand their businesses,” she said.
The commissioner called on stakeholders, religious societies, traditional rulers, stakeholders, Non-Governmental Organisations, parents and private organisations to team up with the government to fight and address the societal ill. (NAN)