Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, has expressed her country’s commitment to helping Nigeria fight human trafficking and other related crimes.
Kaag, who made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, described human trafficking and smuggling as “terrible behavior”.
She said: “We need to do that as part of international burden-sharing.
“We need to be firm on trafficking and we need to haunt people doing smuggling or trafficking.’’
She recalled how the Netherlands had been of assistance to Nigeria in strengthening the human capacity of border management authorities.
She said that the capacity building helped to improve legal migration of people, while the vulnerable ones were returned home.
Kaag noted that some people did not choose to migrate illegally because they were misled, but because they needed to tackle poverty.
He said: “We try to alert citizens with the assistance of their government and also the international organisations for migration, drugs and other crimes.
“We try to alert people on the risks of trafficking.
“And this is done through information campaigns.
“It is people that have returned that have been liberated; sometimes from Libya or survival of the terrible route.
“For those, who have been returned home from the European Union, we try to let them know the risks and also educate them by informing them that one can only migrate legally.’’
According to her, victims of trafficking are being brainwashed into believing that they will be more prosperous in a foreign land than in their country.
She said: “We know everybody is told the story that you can make it; and you would like to be wonderful.
“We need to let people know the risks (involved).’’
Kaag noted that those involved in illegal migration were extremely vulnerable, highly exploited, and in bondage.
She, however, urged the three tiers and arms of government to work in close collaboration and to locate investment opportunities that would lead to job creation for the citizens.
She added that by so doing, young people with their families would feel more comfortable staying back in their home countries to improve their lives.
The minister spoke of existing migration and gender-building frameworks at the global level that Nigeria could leverage to combat illegal migration and tackle refugee situations.