By Musa Adamu
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on the international community to take drastic measures to combat the rising spate of human trafficking, especially from Africa to Europe.
Dogara was speaking at an international conference on “Women empowerment and the fight against trafficking in persons: Partnership between Nigeria and Italy.” The Conference was organized by the President of Italian Chamber of Deputies, Ms Laura Boldrini, in Rome, Italy.
The Speaker lamented that medetarrean sea had become a cemetery that had left deep wounds on humanity’s conscience. He argued that to check and combat human trafficking, all hands must be on deck to address the root cause which include hopelessness, extreme poverty and greed.
He noted that while Nigerian authorities at both state and federal levels were committed to combating the manace, there was the urgent need for the Italian government to arrest and prosecute its citizens involved since it takes two to tango.
He said: “Anyone forced into deep retrospection over these multiple regrettable tragedies cannot but ask these questions: What makes a young boy or girl leave their families and subject themselves to this terrible ordeal? What are the possible solutions to this inhuman trafficking in persons? Have the relevant authorities in Nigeria and Italy done enough to stop this crime against humanity? The Mediterranean has today become the world’s biggest cemetery leaving deep wounds on humanity’s conscience that will over a period of time produce historical scars to serve as a testimony to the ineptitude of our generation in dealing with this problem.
“We are all involved in this crime either as perpetrators or those who are aiding and abetting human traffickers by standing aloof while they convince victims to embark on a supposed journey in search of a “better life” that has almost always ended in “bitter life” if not death.
“How do we address the motivation for someone to want to be trafficked? The crisis most victims are faced with is that they are trapped in a kind of life that is worse than death where the potential victim has no flicker or glimmer of hope to cling to. Such desperate fellows can fall for anything especially if it offers them the slightest opportunity to break free from their hopelessness. The bad news is that in impoverished countries where human trafficking is rife, the population curve is far outpacing the hope and opportunity curve. That means more despondency. As long as this is the case, the motivation for individuals to want to be trafficked will always be there.
“The partnership between our two friendly Nations must develop the needed tools to address the hopelessness that serve as motivation for the victims to want to risk to be trafficked and the greed of the traffickers. Any delay in dealing with these twin evils, is postponement of victory over this global scourge. I therefore comment the effort of the good people of Italy and the Government of Italy for the partnership with Nigeria especially their earlier work in Edo State entitled ‘Preventing and combating trafficking of women from Edo state to Italy’ that involved skill acquisition programmes, financial grants, enlightenment campaigns etc. I understand that this programme has ended. May I use this opportunity to kindly request the Italian government to restart and even expand this very useful and laudable initiative.”