Benue Ranked Highest In Human Trafficking As 1.6 Million Nigerians Get Trapped In Modern Slavery

Benue Ranked Highest In Human Trafficking As 1.6 Million Nigerians Get Trapped In Modern Slavery

Benue State has been identified as Nigeria’s focal point for human trafficking between 2021 and 2022, with Ondo, Edo, Delta, Kano, and Imo states closely following in the ignominious rankings.

This information was disclosed yesterday by the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, in Abuja during the annual colloquium of the Epiphany Azinge Foundation.

The event, organized in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and NAPTIP, centred on the theme ‘Modern Day Slavery.’ In her keynote address, the NAPTIP DG vehemently condemned human trafficking in all its manifestations, urging collective efforts to put an end to this menace.

“For the years 2021 and 2022, Benue State had the highest number of rescued victims of human trafficking, followed by Ondo, Edo, Delta, Kano and Imo. There is a reduction in the number of victims from Edo State. However, Edo indigenes are the highest perpetrators of human trafficking within and outside Nigeria.

“In 2022, we received 1,464 reports, which was a 31.9 per cent increase from 2021. In terms of prosecution, 80 convictions were secured in 2022 – the highest in a single year since NAPTIP’s inception,” Waziri-Azi said.

During the event, various experts, including the Minister of State for Police Affairs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim; Executive Secretary of NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu (SAN); and the immediate past chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasonye, voiced a collective call to end modern-day slavery.

They expressed concern that despite the United Nations General Assembly adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, effectively ending slavery, it has reemerged in contemporary forms seven decades later.

Citing the 2023 Global Slavery Index, Ojukwu and Waziri-Azi lamented the fact that 1.6 million Nigerians experience modern slavery daily due to the demand for cheap labour.

In his presentation, Ojukwu asserted that modern slavery manifests in various forms, including forced labour, sexual exploitation, debt bondage, migrant workers, forced marriages, and human trafficking, among others.

The founder and convener of the Epiphany Azinge Foundation, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN), emphasized the need to eradicate all forms of modern-day slavery in Nigeria. He stressed that everyone, regardless of their societal status, has the right to enjoy freedom.

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