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Human trafficking: Group praises individuals, organisations assisting survivors

Human Development Initiatives (HDI) Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, has praised individuals and organisations actively involved in identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for survivors of human trafficking.

A child being trafficked

Human Development Initiatives (HDI) Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, has praised individuals and organisations actively involved in identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for survivors of human trafficking.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director of HDI, Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

NAN reports that Owasanoye made the commendation to mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is commemorated on July 30 every year.

According to the UN, the theme for the 2022 edition is: “Use and Abuse of Technology by
Human Traffickers”.

According to Owasanoye, the theme exposes how traffickers exploit technology to perpetrate
the illegitimate trade.

She said that traffickers used the internet and digital platforms to deceive, exploit and manipulate victims of trafficking.

“They deploy these platforms to organise transportation and shelter, contact victims and reach out to potential clients while establishing intractable networks for the proliferation of their criminal trade.

“Technology has been exploited, among other things, to communicate with a ring of other perpetrators
and hide criminal proceeds with greater speed, effectiveness and anonymity.

“Traffickers now use social media platforms to identify, attract, train and recruit accomplices in
the ignoble art of human trafficking.

“They employ e-mails and other digital messaging services to communicate with potential victims and advertise their trades to unsuspecting persons, including children, while using photographic materials, promises of fake employment and so on,” Owasanoye said.

The executive director said that human trafficking remained a global crime, adding that Nigeria,
being was not left out of the cycle.

She said that many survivors had shared stories of pain and agony they suffered as a result of trafficking.

She said that traffickers had continued to hold their victims in bondage, subjecting them to mental
abuse, torture, degradation and untold physical, emotional and psychological hardship through the use
of technology, including video recording and keeping victims’ nude pictures.

“The downsides notwithstanding, in technology deployment also lie great opportunities for success in eradicating human trafficking.

” Successfully combating human trafficking in the near future will depend on how law enforcement agencies such as NAPTIP and police and the criminal justice system and others can leverage technology in their interventions,” Owasanoye said.

She called on tech-based organisations, service providers and telecommunication companies to put measures in place to prevent use of technological platforms as tools for human trafficking.

She urged governments to make laws that would prohibit use of technology to promote human trafficking.

“Today, as an organisation working to protect the rights of Nigerians, particularly women and children, HDI Nigeria reinforces our determination and commitment to combating all forms of exploitation as far as human trafficking and allied anti-human ventures are concerned.

“These include sexual slavery and exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced marriage, sale and purchase of persons, and organ harvestings.

“All hands must be on deck to fight against modern-day slavery which is human trafficking,” she urged.