A lot has been said about young girls that get trafficked out of Nigeria purportedly for well-paid jobs in Europe, but who end up in prostitution against their own wish. The ‘Not for Sale’ campaign, currently in its second phase and launched by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), seeks to discourage this practice, especially in Edo and Delta states where many of the victims of human trafficking come from.
The campaign is all-inclusive, not just for girls who get trafficked to Europe with promises of good jobs and end up on the streets as commercial sex workers, but also those that work as domestic help under dehumanizing conditions. The success of the Not for Sale campaign will, however, require the active participation of the major Stakeholders i.e. young girls, parents and community leaders.
At the event recently held in Abuja and well attended by notable guests including Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Honourable Peter Mrakpor, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Edo State, Professor Yinka Omorogbe, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Delta State amongst many others.
Dame Julie Okah-Donli, Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking (NAPTIP) in Persons addressed guests, stating that, It is necessary for young girls to realize that they can attain success without offering themselves for sale, at any price even despite the economic condition in the country, as there are thousands of young girls who are succeeding in various fields of endeavour without having to trade their bodies for money.
Discussions ensued from the panel session held with both Attorney Generals who serve as chairmen of the taskforce teams on trafficking issues in their respective states reiterating that, Indeed, nothing can be considered a success if it comes at the expense of human dignity. Many Edo and Delta state girls who are daily faced with the temptation of seeking greener pastures abroad should look around and heed the unspoken advice of their successful counterparts in career paths and other enterprises, who seem to be telling them, ‘I made it here; You can too’.
Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner in her speech expressed that, the “Not-for-sale” campaign is geared at reminding all Nigerians on the seriousness of human trafficking issues in the country. Ms. Laing continued that human trafficking is one of the world’s most horrible problems and over 1.1 million Nigerians are living in slavery, this campaign is all about reaching out to young women and girls; the campaign has been successful since its launch.
Dame Okah-Donli continued by praising the efforts of her team by stating that NAPTIP is working on naming and shaming perpetrators of this illegal human trafficking act by opening an official human trafficking offenders register. She concluded by appreciating the support of UK Cabinet Office in Nigeria and stating that with its partnership, NAPTIP is reshaping behavioural communication efforts in our awareness campaign with paradigms to rekindle the pride in Nigerian youths.
Whilst ‘Not for Sale’ is not purported to be the solution to the problem of human trafficking, the exercise is but a fraction of much work that needs to be done. A lot will depend on the active involvement of those that are in positions to influence the attitudes and choices of potential victims of human trafficking.