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Human Trafficking: UK wants global support for Nigeria


United Kingdom’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, made the call at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Modern Slavery on Saturday in New York.

The United Kingdom has called for urgent international collaboration to help Nigeria tackle human trafficking challenge at source, pledging at least five million pounds to the course.

United Kingdom’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, made the call at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Modern Slavery on Saturday in New York.

Hyland said that women and girls from Nigeria, who were illegal migrants, were victims of forced labour and sexual exploitation in detention centres across Libya, in attempt to get into Europe.

He pointed out that “for decades, transnational traffickers have operated in a particular part of Nigeria, deceiving victims with false promises of better lives in Europe”. “But what was a trickle has now become a flow,” he said.

The envoy said that long-established transnational organised crime groups were also using power vacuums caused by Boko Haram conflict to increase their trafficking operations.

“These criminals are taking advantage of conflict and instability in the Lake Chad Basin and Libya and have massively scaled up their trafficking operations by utilising these now ungoverned routes.

“In 2016, just over 11,000 Nigerian women arrived in Italy from Libya.

“This is an eightfold increase from the numbers that arrived in 2014. “The International Organization for Migration believes that 80 per cent are trafficking victims destined for brothels across Europe,” he said.

Hyland mentioned a particular State in Nigeria that he visited, saying “it is the main region where traffickers source their victims. “This trafficking is especially brutal in nature.

“Women who insist they will not work as prostitutes are tied up in a position called ‘the crocodile’ where their hands are tied to their feet and they are left for days without food or water.

“Some are left to die as an example to others,” he stated. According to him, the UK Government recently announced at least five million pounds to work in partnership with Nigeria to help tackle trafficking at source.

“All of the Nigerian survivors I met wanted to tell me about the identities, tactics and routes of traffickers. “Unfortunately this information is not being routinely collected, analysed or acted on.

“Much more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable,” he appealed. He said that Prime Minister Theresa May had committed the UK to international leadership in combating modern slavery.

“Unless those behind this trade in human lives are pursued and punished, vulnerable people will continue to be sourced, used, abused and replaced and treated as mere commodities.

“So, I urge international organisations and Member States and in particular, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to prioritise efforts to increase cross border collaboration to investigate, disrupt and dismantle human trafficking networks. “We need high profile convictions of the organisers, to act as a deterrent to others.

“This can be achieved through increased use of joint investigation teams, multilateral prosecutions and data and intelligence sharing.

“We need to get smarter at debriefing victims and sensitively sharing this information with law enforcement and victim support agencies, to inform disruption and protection efforts,” Hyland said.

He strongly welcomed UN Resolution 2331, which called for ‘proactive responses to protect against slavery and trafficking to be systematically integrated into humanitarian responses to conflict and related emergencies’.

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  • Mr Fagan

    Just name the state and let the conscientisation begin from there.

    • Benbella

      Preach One Wife with Three Children , thats a good start, dont have any if you cant train them period. Too many unwanted Children in Nigeria , I wish them well , wow

    • Patrick Whelan

      Edo State, and now increasingly Delta State

  • Patrick Whelan

    The problem with this call to action is that it is greatly uninformed. The majority of Nigerian trafficking starts with a family decision. The support and facilitation of trafficking comes from everywhere (religion, the state, the community). Catching traffickers will only open opportunities for others to become traffickers as the channels are already in place, the institutions created, the supply and the demand, the societal ignorance and indifference. It was the British that caused the situation leading to trafficking in Nigeria, as it was colonization and the slave trade which created formal and informal institutions, ethnic fractionalization, and tribal power imbalances which facilitate exploitation. The British set up Nigeria as an extractive state and has supported it remaining that way ever since. The people living there have grown up in this situation and have become indoctrinated in it, knowing no other ways to live. Nigerians learn that they can’t trust anybody. Trust is necessary for any society to flourish. And now the UK calls for interrogations of victims, increasing the trauma which facilitates distrust. So, they’ll learn not to trust other Nigerians, ‘Aid’ agencies, foreign governments, etc.
    The UK govt is pledging 5 mil pounds to disrupt things, yes, but not to solve anything, and possibly to make the situation worse.