Mr Joseph Chidiebere, Executive Director, Devatop Centre for Africa Development on Friday described human trafficking as a great threat to economic development, advancement and human capital of any country.
Chidiebere, in an interview with newsmen noted that victims of human trafficking were often robbed of the opportunity to achieve their full potential and life aspirations.
He said, ‘’The perpetrators sap the very potential of our nation by frustrating the aspiration of young people.’’
The executive director also noted that human traffickers or perpetrators often see young people, especially women, girls and children as commodities that could generate 100 times of the amount spent on recruiting them.
Chidiebere expressed concern that the future of so many young people had been hampered, their dreams frustrated and potential caged because of the triumph of human trafficking.
“For years, human trafficking has continued to thrive in the shadow and in the silence of others. Young people are mostly vulnerable and susceptible to trafficking in persons.
“This practice consists of giving children away, often in exchange for money, with the motivation to give more opportunities to them to escape a situation of chronic poverty and access better life.
“So many people are ignorant that the widespread practice of entrusting poor children to friends or relatives may create vulnerability and probably leads to trafficking.
“Most of these children are promised education and better opportunities, but they ended up neither going to school nor well taken care of.”
The executive director, who described trafficking as flourishing all over the world, said it was aided by corruption and neglect of citizens by governments.
Chidiebere identified Nigeria as having highest number of victims of human trafficking in Africa and fourth in the world, based on 2016 Global Slavery Index Report.
According to him, United States has described Nigeria as the source, transit and destination country of women and children subjected to trafficking, saying “this is unacceptable.”
The executive director said that in order to curb the menace, various governments must give priority to combating human trafficking and other related human rights abuses.
He specifically urged governments to ensure strict enforcement of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Act without compromise.
Chidiebere further urged state and federal governments to mobilise resources, among others, to support action against human trafficking.
According to him, such efforts will go a long way in curbing the menace. (NAN)