Alex Enumah in Abuja
The United States acting Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Aruna Amirthanayagam, yesterday in Abuja disclosed that estimated 24.9 million persons are trapped in modern-day slavery.
Amirthanayagam, who noted that the illicit art of trading in humans is a very old business, said with the dimension slavery had assumed in modern times, people “can no longer sit at the side-lines and allow men and women, children and young adults to be exploited in your communities and country.”
He was speaking at a programme organised by the US embassy in Abuja in collaboration with Devatop Centre to commemorate the 2018 World Day Against Human Trafficking.
The Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria advised guest at the occasion to find out how they can get involved “so that we can stand together and work to end human trafficking, if not in this generation, at least in the next. Today is the day to make a difference.”
He added: “We know the statistics. In a September 2017 report ILO estimates that an estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 16 million (64 percent) were exploited for labour; 4.8 million (19percent) were sexually exploited while 4.1 million (17 percent) were exploited in state-imposed forced labour.
“Forced labour takes place in many different industries. Of the 16 million trafficking victims exploited for labour, 7.5 million (47 percent) forced labour victims work in construction, manufacturing, mining or hospitality; 3.8 million (24 percent) forced labour victims are domestic workers while 1.7 million (11 percent) forced labour victims work in agriculture sector.”
The envoy who added that unlike the drug trade where commodities can only be sold and used once, individual can be sold over and over and over again in the human trafficking business, adding that while 71 percent of trafficking victims around the world are women and girls, 29 percent are men and boys.
He noted that Asia-pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced labourers with 15.4 million (62 percent of the global total). Africa has 5.7 million (23 per cent) followed by Europe and Central Asia with 2.2 million (nine per cent). The Americas account for 1.2 million (five per cent) and the Arab states account for one per cent of all victims.
Meanwhile, guest at the occasion, who were mainly young students, urged the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to change its strategy and redouble its efforts in combating the menace of human trafficking, noting that incidents of trafficking has continued to rise at a worrisome rate.
They suggested that the agency should emulate Britain that recently published the name of a recent human trafficking convict alongside the proceeds of crime, stressing that such name and shame method would discourage others from the illicit business.
They also called on NAPTIP to put in place reliable and secured instruments of getting information on suspected human traffickers as well as protecting sources of such information.
Earlier, NAPTIP representative at the occasion and a member of panel, Ebele Ulasi, disclosed that the agency over the years has succeeded in convicting 375 persons while it is still prosecuting many other human trafficking suspects.
Ulasi said apart from enlightenment campaign in media communications, NAPTIP has been partnering schools, religious organisations among others to sensitise on the dangers of human trafficking.
She called on Nigerians to join in the fight to eradicate human trafficking in Nigeria by reporting suspected cases to NAPTIP and other security agencies.