New dimension to human trafficking — THISDAY Editorial

Posted by News Express | 8 September 2021 | 322 times

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The revelation last week by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Director-General, Basheer Mohammed that human trafficking in Kano State could be traced to organ harvesting is a disturbing development. “Organs like eyes, kidneys, and lungs are harvested to service the medical needs of Europe,” said Mohammed. “NAPTIP vulnerability index analysis showed that human trafficking is endemic in Kano. Out of the 482 convicted persons by the agency from inception, 110 are from Kano zonal command, representing the highest in the country.”

We implore the security agencies to deploy the requisite intelligence that will help in fishing out the perpetrators of this most heinous crime and punish them in accordance with the law. Chilling statistics suggest that human trafficking has become one of the biggest money-making businesses after drug trafficking. It is therefore rather shameful that our country is regarded not only as a transit route for this illegal trade but also a source as well as a destination with children and young adults, now becoming merchandise.

As established over the years, victims of human trafficking and illegal migration often go through physical and psychological trauma as they are at the beck and call of organised patrons without choices. Those trafficked abroad neither have peace of mind nor desirable happiness. They often live under the threat and fear of deportation. The idea that many of them are also victims of organ harvesters make the situation more serious.

As part of the 2021 World Day against Trafficking in Persons last month, both IOM and NAPTIP launched some tools that would ensure a standardised approach to the identification, referral, and protection of Victims of Trafficking (VoTs). “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation of vulnerable persons who, due to their worsened economic situation, were recruited for labour or sexual exploitation,” IOM Chief of Mission, Franz Celestin said. “The tools developed are a first step in providing a voice to the victims as it allows them to share their experiences, help service providers facilitate referral pathways and provide comprehensive protections services.”

In recent years, the IOM spent huge sums of money to evacuate back home hundreds of Nigerians most of whom were trafficked to Libya en route Europe with promises of better life. Several of them lost their lives while those who survived went through anguish and trauma before the federal government came to their rescue. These were aside the uncountable numbers of Nigerians who regularly lose their lives on the Mediterranean Sea while being trafficked abroad or engaged in illegal migration. There have been stories of trafficked victims compelled to undergo rituals, including eating chicken hearts, and drinking blood containing worms and powdering incisions.

However, this latest dimension of organ harvesting should compel more attention at a time kidnappers are all over the country. Meanwhile, at the root of human trafficking in Nigeria is endemic poverty which has been a veritable tool in the hands of traffickers to lure their victims into illicit jobs with promises of improved living. Several of those recently evacuated from Libya narrated how frustration forced them into the journey.

We challenge government, at all levels, to address the prevalent poverty ravaging the land and offer meaningful hope of livelihood to frustrated young Nigerian men and women who are often victims of trafficking. We also task NAPTIP to live up to its responsibilities by engaging in massive enlightenment campaigns against trafficking, particularly in the rural areas of the country where this scourge is now prevalent.

Source: News Express

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