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U.S. Embassy Commemorates World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

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The U.S. Embassy Abuja, in collaboration with Devatop Centre for Africa Development, held a program on July 31 to commemorate World Day against Trafficking in Persons.  The program, “Combating Human Trafficking: A National Priority,” highlighted the burden of trafficking in persons and efforts to fight the problem.

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.  Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

In his remarks, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy Aruna Amirthanayagam, explained that slavery has a long history dating back many centuries carried out on a large scale due to the huge profits from the illicit trade.  He explained that “in the drug trade, commodities can only be sold and used once. In human trafficking, an individual can be sold over and over and over again.”

Mr. Amirthanayagam observed that human trafficking does not always involve travel to the destination of exploitation.  It can take place in a person’s country of birth.  He urged participants at the event to “get involved and work together to end human trafficking, if not in this generation, at least in the next.”

A worldwide problem, statistics from the International Labor Organization show that about 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery including those exploited for labor, those sexually exploited, and those in state-imposed forced labor.  Africa accounts for the second largest number of victims of forced labor after the Asia-Pacific region.

The program also featured a panel discussion led by Mrs. Imaobong Ladipo-Sanusi of the Women Trafficking and Child Labor Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), and Mrs. Ebele Veron Ulasi of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).  Others were CP Emmanuel Ojukwu Provost of the Police Public Relations School and Joseph Osuigwe of the Devatop Centre for Africa Development.

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