The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday called for speedy trial of human trafficking cases to check the disturbing malaise which is a major violation of human rights.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu made this call in Abuja on the eve of the 2020 commemoration of the International Day Against Human Trafficking (IDAHT)
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IDAHT is commemorated on every July 30 every year.
” There is need for diligent prosecution, curtailing delay tactics by defense counsel in courts, empowerment of rural households and communities, education of girl child are major challenges in fighting the malaise.
” These coupled with nonchalant attitude of some members of the public towards the illicit trade have unfortunately combined to pose a serious challenge in bringing perpetrators of human trafficking to book.
“Hence the illicit trade has become the most lucrative for criminals, after drug trafficking and economic fraud in the Country” Ojukwu stated.
He further stated that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Committed to the cause-working on the frontline to end human trafficking” is very apt.
This, he said, recognises the efforts and sacrifices of human rights defenders towards addressing human trafficking which is a serious global problem.
“This year’s theme which focuses on the first responders to human trafficking is therefore challenging all human rights defenders.
” Particularly, the law enforcement agencies, frontline Ministries, Departments and Agencies like, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Women Affairs, NHRC, the Police, the Judiciary, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) .
“Also Nigerians in Diaspora Commission among others, to double their efforts in tackling issues of human trafficking and other related criminalities to ensure that people’s rights are not violated” he said.
Ojukwu also expressed concern that despite the efforts of the federal government (through NAPTIP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to contain human trafficking it still persist.
According to him, Nigeria remains a source, transit and destination of human trafficking as released by the latest Global Slavery Index (2018).
He added that Nigeria ranks 32 out of 167 countries with the highest number of trafficked slaves.
Ojukwu also expressed worries over a statistics by the Italian authorities revealing a high number of Nigerian women working in prostitution in the streets of Italy.
” That trend is no longer acceptable and therefore requires urgent and collaborative efforts of all the frontline agencies to change the ugly records.
” NHRC, NAPTIP and the Police are already collaborating to holistically tackle Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), human trafficking and other related offence.
” This synergy is gradually yielding fruitful results” he said.
He therefore advocated for the domestication of all relevant regional and international treaties and protocols.
This he said would adequately address the increasing cases of human trafficking in the country which have brought untold hardships to the survivors and families of victims.
Ojukwu urged victims and survivors and their families to continue to reject the illicit trade.
He further encouraged Nigerians not to stigmatise victims but rather support them to contribute to national development and protection of human rights.