About 21 million people across the globe have been identified as victims of forced labour, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Commission has declared.
Among these innocent men and women, almost 19 million of the forced labour victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises while over 2 million of these victims are forced by the state or rebel groups.
The Regional Advisor (Counter Trafficking) Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS, Mr. Olatunde Olayemi made the declaration while delivering a lecture ” Combating Human Trafficking in Nigeria: A Prerequisite for the Realization of National Development Aspirations”.
Speaking at the March series of the monthly lecture of Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, tagged Combating Human Trafficking in Nigeria, on Tuesday, Olayemi noted that trafficking is a public heath problem that affects the victims and the society at large.
He called on the people to continue in their support to work with government, relevant agencies including NANTIP, Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS) and NGOs to reduce the menace.
Olayemi called for the overhaul of the entire criminal justice system in the country to help prosecuting human traffickers across the nation.
The Oyo State Controller of Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS), Mr. Innocent Akatu also declared that it is worrisome that most educated and learned Nigerians are found culpable in human trafficking.
The immigration boss who noted that though his men have been working to reduce the menace noted that several arrests have been made and the victims have been re-united with their families.
He decried the incidents where educated and learned persons are found in the crime, by using under-age, juvenile and teenagers as house boys and girls, sales boys, sales girls and servants.
He also called on people to cooperate with them to reduce the menace as he urged parents to know the pedigree and characters of whom they intends to entrust their children.
“As you go back to your brothers and sisters we want you to talk to them and assist us”
“The most important thing this administration is doing is to reduce illegal migration into the country, and you know the way our borders are, although they are still porous, we don’t want to use the word porous, they are large borders, so we have trained the new sets of officers, and have been given mandate to make sure no illegal immigrant comes in”
He urged parents to know the kind of persons whom their children are following.