The Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation has called for an aggressive grassroots sensitisation as a panacea to the ills of human trafficking in the societies.
Imabong Sanusi, the Executive Director of the foundation, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.
Sanusi said Nigeria currently served as a source country, a transit country and a destination country for human trafficking.
He said: “Most victims of human trafficking are sourced from rural communities; therefore, the need to intensify sensitisation to the rural dwellers on the ills of human trafficking and how to identify traffickers.
“Nigeria is now a source country, a transit country and a destination country, and the traffickers are getting more daring.
“We at WOTCLEF, now engage in sensitisation programmes for communities by collaborating with schools and government agencies like the National Youth Service Corps.
“Our collaboration with the NYSC is particularly far reaching because corp members can be found in virtually every community in Nigeria.’’
Sanusi said that most victims of human trafficking were used for domestic labour, and also get exposed to health hazards like HIV/AIDS due to sexual exploitation.
She added that WOTCLEF worked in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons to rescue and rehabilitate victims.
The executive director advised Nigerians to be vigilant and always report suspicious ill-treatment of vulnerable groups like women and children within their neighbourhoods.
She said: “Most victims are sourced for exploitative domestic labour, because most women in towns and cities require househelps, but sexual exploitation sets in, in some cases, leading to health issues like HIV/AIDS.
“We advise Nigerians to be vigilant and to report issues of abuse within their neighbourhoods to the police, NAPTIP or even WOTCLEF.
“We collaborate with these law enforcement bodies and we also ensure that our intervention covers four areas: trafficking in persons, child labour, HIV/AID, and abuse of the rights of women.’’
Sanusi said that WOTCLEF was not against Nigerians having domestic servants, but condemned the idea of forced and exploitative labour, especially when children were the victims.
She said: “We are not against people having domestic servants, what we are against is the idea of exploiting vulnerable people and children, and not sending children to school.
“Children are meant to be in school. We are aware that poverty pushes human trafficking and we do a lot to empower vulnerable groups.’’
The executive director warned that trafficking in persons now, also took place locally while the traffickers were also changing their conventional international routes from Europe to countries in Africa and the Middle East.
She said that WOTCLEF had been accorded an observer status at the United Nation Economic and Social Council, saying that it would ginger the organisation to do more for the vulnerable Nigerians.
NAN reports that WOTCLEF was founded on October 19, 1999 by Titi Abubakar, wife of the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
A private bill by Abubakar also led to the formation of NAPTIP on July 14, 2003 to tackle issues of human trafficking and prosecute offenders.