About 80 percent of Nigerian women and girls, who arrive Italy, are sex trafficking victims, Vatican news agency Agenzia Fides has said.
“Hundreds of thousands of people fall victim to human trafficking every year in Africa alone,” said Monsignor Ignatius Ayau Kaigama at an international conference against human trafficking organised by Christian Organisations Against Trafficking in Human Beings, COATNET, and Catholic Charity Caritas, Abuja.
“In Africa alone, 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,” said Mgr. Kaigama.
“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.