The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government has recorded impressive gains in the fight against human trafficking, which includes opening up economic opportunities for youths, building local capacity to drive economic growth and strengthening institutional capacity to check the trend.
The governor said this in Benin City, in commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons marked every July 30, by the United Nations and its sister agencies.
Obaseki expressed the state government’s appreciation to international development organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are working with the state to stem the tide of human trafficking.
According to him, “As we mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, I want to use this opportunity to appreciate all those that have been supporting Edo State Government’s unrelenting action against the menace. We have recorded impressive gains in the campaign to check human trafficking in Edo State. We will not relent in our efforts.
“In fact, work is advancing on the institutions and structures we are putting in place to check the activities of human traffickers and also making the state conducive for youths to constructively contribute to development. These are evident with the uptake of activities at the Edo Innovation Hub, the Edo Production Center and the influx of businesses to the state in recent months.”
The governor noted that the awareness campaign against the menace has also not waned as there are ongoing programmes to galvanise parents in the state to desist from encouraging their children and wards to embark on dangerous journeys overseas.
With the year’s campaign themed: “Human Trafficking: Call Your Government to Action,” he said it was refreshing that the focus has shifted to the need to task governments to take the front seat in efforts to check human trafficking, noting that Edo State has championed the campaign in the state for years with the enactment of a law to give the fight a legal teeth.
According to the United Nations, “Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. Since 2003 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has collected information on about 225,000 victims of trafficking detected worldwide. Globally countries are detecting and reporting more victims, and are convicting more traffickers. This can be the result of increased capacity to identify victims and/or an increased number of trafficked victims.”