Abuja – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) jointly with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Friday organized an event to mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2021.
Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights, says the Communications Associate, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Ms. Olivia Ogechi Okorondu in a statement.
She also noted that every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, and despite significant efforts carried out by authorities to curb the problem, Nigeria is a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of human trafficking.
This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons theme – ‘Victims’ Voices Lead the Way’ – puts victims of human trafficking at the centre and highlights the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking.
In the midst of a global pandemic, accompanied by rising inequalities and economic devastation, the voices of human trafficking survivors and victims risk being drowned out. Listening to their stories is more crucial than ever as the COVID-19 crisis increases fragilities and drives up desperation.
According to Okorondu, “Today’s event portrayed survivors of human trafficking as key actors in the fight against human trafficking and stressed the need to listen to and learn from them as they play a crucial role in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime, by identifying and rescuing victims and supporting them on their road to rehabilitation.
“Four survivors shared their stories and stressed the need for all stakeholders to continue working towards eradicating this heinous crime and towards the reintegration of rescued victims”.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, assured that “Nigeria will at all times ensure that victims of human trafficking are given their rightful place and that all reintegration and rehabilitation efforts will take into cognisance their special needs.”
Senator Basheer Garba Muhammed, Director-General of NAPTIP, stressed that, “the impact of exploitation on victims is so devastating that victims are physically affected, they are psychologically and emotionally traumatized and are often times socially excluded. I feel it is time for victims of trafficking to anchor the awareness raising on their situation, for a better promotion and protection of their rights, while experience shared could also serve as warning to prevent potential victims from being trafficked.”
“Our efforts must be guided by survivors of trafficking. Their contribution is essential to address risk factors and patterns, and to identify and protect victims and ensure their access to justice and recovery, while holding their exploiters accountable” stated Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator to Nigeria.
Franz Celestin, Chief of Mission at IOM Nigeria further said, “we recall the commitments made by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to facilitate the access of trafficked persons to justice, to allow them to safely report experiences without fear of detention, deportation or penalty, and to provide migrants who have become trafficking victims with protection, assistance and redress.”
Ms. Elisabeth Bayer, UNODC Deputy Country Representative added that “bringing perpetrators to justice is the only way to provide restitution for identified victims, to ensure they have access to justice, and to prevent further abuse and exploitation.
Okorondu urged Nigerians on this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, to have a heart for the victims of human trafficking and join the blue heart campaign.
#LeaveNoOneBehind #HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking Have a #BlueHeart