Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "80% of Nigerian girls who arrive Italy, do so for sex trafficking purposes". This was stated by His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, in his speech at the International Conference against human trafficking in Africa, which ends today, September 7, in Abuja (see Fides 02/09/2016). The conference is organized by Caritas in collaboration with COATNET (Christian Organisations Against Trafficking in Persons Network).
"In Africa alone - said Mgr. Kaigama - hundreds of thousands of persons are trafficked annually. A whopping 79% of the total number are sexually exploited, the victims being mostly women; 21% of those trafficked are for forced labour, the majority being males".
"A disturbing fact is that in parts of West Africa the majority of those trafficked are children below the age of 18. This conference must find ways of ending child labour in all its forms", said the Archbishop.
The President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria also appealed to the Nigerian government "to look at the issue of trafficking in persons as a national disgrace and take urgent and lasting steps to deal with the root causes. This is especially in light of the fact that recent reports claim that 80% of Nigerian girls who arrive Italy, do so for sex trafficking purposes".
Mgr. Kaigama recalled that Nigeria established the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters (NAPTIP) and that late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua had initiated a policy to assist victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
"These efforts, taken together with those of other Agencies both private and public, are indicative of seriousness on the part of government. But in the light of current realities government must show that NAPTIP is not one of those agencies that make up the number", said the Archbishop, who concluded asking the government to allocate more resources to address the problem. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 07/09/2016)