Kaduna State Government has set up a 27-member Task Force, comprising federal agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations, to deter, expose, arrest and prosecute human traffickers and to combat child labour.
The Acting Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, who inaugurated the Task Force, noted that it will complement the efforts of Kaduna State Government to stop the criminals behind human trafficking.
Dr. Balarabe said the Task Force will promote inter-agency collaborations and contribute to the efforts of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), to end human trafficking in the state and the country at large.
According to her, the Task Force demonstrates the state’s commitment to disrupt and break the chain of human trafficking, prosecute perpetrators and render support to victims.
The Acting Governor noted that trafficked Nigerian women and children are recruited from rural areas within the country’s borders, for involuntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.
She further noted that the trafficked boys are exploited through forced labour, street hawking and begging, adding that merchants of this illicit trade have also incorporated it into their scheme.
Dr Balarabe maintained that ‘’regrettably, our country is identified as a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, including forced labour and forced prostitution. ‘’
The Acting Governor promised that Kaduna State Government will continue to work hand in hand with NAPTIP and other partners to find ways to conquer this scourge.
The Chair of the Task Force and the Commissioner of Justice A’isha Dikko, called on all relevant agencies and citizens to support the Task Force in its assignment, adding that Kaduna state had earlier enacted laws like the Child Welfare and Protection Law, Street Hawking and Begging Law to curb the scourge.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi said 75% of trafficking in persons in Nigeria occurs across state lines while 23% percent takes place within the state.
According to her, NAPTIP is working to give effect to the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of 24th January 2013, mandating states to strengthen national response to human trafficking at the sub-national levels.
“This is why NAPTIP is collaborating with state governments to set up Task Forces against human trafficking under the supervision of state governors, in order to consolidate the efforts of the agency and other stakeholders,” she said.
Dr Waziri-Azi noted that the Task Forces will coordinate all the issues of trafficking in persons at the subnational levels in terms of prevention, awareness creation for our young people in urban areas and in the rural areas and also to provide support to victims of trafficking.