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By: Ade Adeleke
Ondo State Government, in partnership with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Tuesday set up a Taskforce committee as part of the efforts to fight human trafficking in the State
The committee is chaired by the State Attoney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adekola Olawoye and Co-chaired by the Zonal Commandant of NAPTIP, Mrs. Kehinde Akomolafe.
Members of the taskforce are drawn from a wide spectrum of key stakeholders in the state, including state government officials, law enforcement agencies, the traditional institution, community and opinion leaders, religious leaders, transport owners and workers, women and youth groups as well as other civil society and community based organisations.
Addressing the committee members, the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, described human trafficking as a modern form of slavery which he said is criminal and also against the will of God.
Akeredolu, represented by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, lauded NAPTIP for taking the bold step to set up the state Taskforce across the country.
He added that he believed the gesture will go a long way to open the eyes and minds of the populace to the inherent dangers in committing their lives to agent of darkness pretending to help them seek greener pastures outside the country.
The Governor lamented that the youths are the most vulnerable as they are often recruited unknowingly to become slaves and prostitutes once they are outside the shores of the country.
“The gory tale we get from individuals who have been victims of human trafficking about the indignity and deprivation they suffer should be eye openers to our youths who are still being deceived that the pasture is greener in those countries that provide the environment for the illicit trade to thrive.
“It is worrisome to note that the name of the country has been dragged in the mud by unscrupulous element through their nefarious activities in human trafficking.
“Aside focusing on trafficking of persons to overseas countries, efforts should also be made to look inwards as incidences of human trafficking abound within the country” Akeredolu said.
The Governor charged the taskforce team to direct its effort towards discouraging people from going into the journey of unknown while those already trafficked victims should be rescued and rehabilitated accordingly.
On her part, the Director-General of NAPTIP Dame Julie Okah-Donli said the purpose for the setting up of the taskforce was premised on the need to enhance state and non-state multi sectoral response towards combating human trafficking in Nigeria.
According to her, members of the committee are expected to develop strategies and state action plans on counter-trafficking issues. Carry out programmes for effective reintegration of trafficked victims into the society. Work with state Ministry of Justice on how to protect, assist and provide access to justice for victims of Trafficking.