Nigerians, especially girls and women, are being trafficked all over the globe by barons operating under the cover of God-sent aunties, uncles and friends.
Dame Julie Okah-Donli NAPTIP D-G
Nigerians, especially girls and women, are being trafficked all over the globe by barons operating under the cover of God-sent aunties, uncles and friends. Many are now languishing in confinement as slaves serving the selfish desires of their traffickers while their parents wait in vain to hear or read from them.
Triggering alarm on the dangerous state of Nigerians under this situation, the director-general of the NAPTIP, Dame Julie Donli told a stunned gathering of wives of first class traditional rulers in the Niger Delta last year, that girls are now endangered by the renewed trend of escaping from the country in search of greener pastures. She said women and girls are exposed to more risks including forced marriage, trafficking and other forms of violence.
Miss Blessing Leega, Face of the Red Card to Human Trafficking Campaign
“Young boys and girls are being sexually exploited, lured with promises of luxury outside only to face prostitution. One of the worst forms of human rights violation is to be sold to several hands.
The Association Against Child, Sexual Abuse and Gender Based Violence, AAACSGBV in association with L’Hadessah Development Initiative to tackle this menace, launched the #Not For Sale Campaign on June 8, 2019 at the Delta State Innovation Hub.
Special Adviser to the Delta State governor Genevieve Mordi commended the organizers and all who have tasted human trafficking and come out survivors as she called on all to work to end trafficking which seriously negates the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set up by the UN to make society better by 2030.
Genevieve Mordi said over 100 young Nigerians are living in the UK as modern day slaves.
“Recent findings reveal that over 100 persons are living as modern day slaves in the UK and this is shocking and every hand must be on deck to contribute his or her quota by any positive possible measure, to eradicate this. The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly cannot be achieved as long as you have humans living as slaves in any part of the world.
“We all are created equal by God and this is working against every one of the 17 SDGs. It therefore is inhuman and sad to realize that 150 years after Abraham Lincoln of the US issued his parliamentary emancipation proclamation there is still slavery in this modern time. Human trafficking is tilted towards both gender though more towards the female gender”.
She urged youths to be guided by the stories of those who were victims but have turned right.
“When I drive around the city of Asaba, I see billboards of persons who went the other way and later turned around. Testimonies of these ladies are essential. I hope that the testimonies will make a difference in your life. The testimonies of these ladies are essential. It is likely greener on the other side but young lives are marked for organs, when people are about to die, they hunt for organs and illegal immigrants become easy targets”
She noted that not only illegal migrants are at the risk of being trafficked.
“The truth is that even with legal papers, you have to have a focus. When I went to school (in the US), I had to be focused. My father wanted me to study Law. I faced my books; I had no bed, sat on the floor for years. I didn’t watch TV, just concentrated on reading.
“Seeing billboards of your people who conquered abuse, they all made it here. If I didn’t have a foundation here, one of hard work and moral, I would not have succeeded. You will not succeed outside without a good foundation”.
She advised the young to be focused to avoid losing track.
“Distinguish between wrong and right. Even when you go outside legally, people will still come to lure you. If they come and tell you stories stand for what is right. What you know is wrong is wrong. My father died while I was three years in the US and my colleagues came with an invitation to attend a party for which we would be paid $500 and that was a good sum and I needed money. I asked myself, why would anybody pay me as much as $500 for attending a party? And later because of my strong moral upbringing, I said no, let me face my study. They went- my fellow Nigerian and two other African girls. Later through a church testimony, we learnt they were abused. They were drugged, in pains; animals used some of them and two later became ill and died two years later.
“Human trafficking is everywhere. If they come and tell you stories even in legal travel, focus on what you came for; make your parents proud. I salute all who saw trafficking and conquered. I salute Jonathan who was enslaved in Libya but became a survivor.
“Anyone who is thinking illegal migration, change your mindset. Travelling abroad should be done through legal means. Organs of persons aged between 16 and 25 years are in high demand. Some migrants end up as sex slaves or human organs to meet health needs of the West. That is why some are never heard of. Once they know you are illegal, you become a legal target”.
To end the abuse, Genevive advised: “The new language to end this slavery should be setting a new vision, a new mindset and determination to attain self-esteem for oneself, and family admiration”.
Flagging off the Red Card to traffickers, a thriving artist Miss Blessing Leega, was picked by the UK aid because she had invitation that would have led to her being trafficked but turned it down. She devoted her time to her hobby which is painting but her father refused her going into it full time. She secretly pursued her passion and kept on pushing until she was discovered by her friend’s father who bought her work with a huge sum of money. His friend saw the paintings and awarded Blessing a contract of a higher amount.
Blessing is now in the University of Benin and gets commissioned to do paintings which has enabled her become both a model to young girls and an employer as she has over 30 young girls as pupils and staff under her, including those who have tasted trafficking.
The ‘Say No To Trafficking’ was attended by the zonal director NAPTIP, staff of NAPTIP, Delta State, non-governmental organizations in the state including CAS2030 representatives, state government officials and young girls including some traffic survivors.