The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Thursday inaugurated the Oyo Taskforce on Human Trafficking to sensitise people at thegrassroots on dangers of human trafficking.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the taskforce is chaired by the Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo.
Other members are drawn from the Nigeria Immigration Service, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, traditional rulers, NGO among others.
In her address, the Director General of NAPTIP, Mrs Dame Okah-Donli, said the taskforce has a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitisation of the grassroots and vulnerable groups.
Okah-Donli said that the taskforce would also provide services and support to trafficked persons rescued and share information with security agencies on enforcement of the law.
The D-G said that the taskforce required strong political will and budgetary provisions on the part of the state government as well as the commitment of traditional, religious and community leaders to achieve its objectives.
“The problem of human trafficking and irregular migration have become of great national concern especially with large numbers of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labour exploitation in various African and European Countries,’’ the D-G said.
She said that this was apart from the number that continue to die in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Last year, reports emerged about human farms in some parts of Libya where black African migrants are allegedly kept in cages like animals and organs like eyes, kidneys and lungs are harvested to service the medical sectors of Europe.
“NAPTIP is worried about the ugly trend of the trafficking of young Nigerian women, mostly from the Southwest and neighbouring states, to the Middle East.
“Between March and August 2020, NAPTIP repatriated 355 young women from domestic and sexual servitude in Lebanon, out of whom, 51 were from Oyo,” she said.
Also speaking, the Oyo State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Alhaja Faosat Sanni, said she was elated at the inauguration of the taskforce to combat human trafficking.
“This initiative will bring about liberation of the people of this state that have in one way or the other fallen victim of this modern slavery.
“This idea will go a long way to redeem the rights of survivors that are victims of recruiters of the traffickers,” Sanni said.
Inaugurating the task force, the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr Rauf Olaniyan, said the state was looking forward to the day human trafficking offenders are properly punished.
“The state being a border state has a lot of human trafficking going on and I take this opportunity to implore the Nigeria Immigration officers to buckle down in curbing the activities of the traffickers.
“Poverty is the major cause if trafficking in Nigeria and if it is addressed properly more than 50 per cent of human trafficking will stop ,” Olaniyan said.
The Chairman of the taskforce, Oyewo, said that it was the duty of the taskforce to see to the enforcement of the law on human trafficking.
“We are going to follow the initiative of NAPTIP in taking step that will give effect to the enforcement of the law to the prohibition and combating of human trafficking in the state through the leadership of the Ministry of Justice,” he said. (NAN)