The international community and stakeholders to end trafficking in persons have stressed the need to enhance prevention efforts to address the demands of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Addressing the media in Abuja at a media conference on sex trafficking prior to the screening of the Nigerian film Òlòturé the Ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund noted that trafficking in human beings was a severe human violation and the worse form of gender-based violence.
Annika Hahn-Englund said all governments, international and local organisations have a joint obligation to prevent the exploitation of human trafficking.
”We need to do that by protecting victims even more so, to ensure a long time solutions to address the demands that enforce this exploitation.”
”We need to see the role of the demand in the chain of exploitation and acknowledge the fact that exploitation in prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation will not exist if there is no demand.”
According to the Sweden Ambassador, ”Sweden has had a law that bans the purchase but not the sale of sexual acts since 1999, buyers are punished but people in prostitution are not.”
Addressing the gathering Ambassador of Argentina to Nigeria, Alejandro Herrero said human trafficking represents one of the most serious human rights violation crimes which has social, political, and gender issues combined.
”The Argentine government deploys the necessary public policy to ensure prevention, protection, repatriation, and assess to justice for victims and also the sanctions for the criminals.
According to him, ”Likewise, the Argentine state has ratified all the international conventions and protocols related to the matter and has formulated national laws for the prevention and punishment of trafficking in persons and assistance to its victims.”
He said the Argentine government has sustained its efforts in anti-trafficking capacity by taking some steps which include prosecuting and convicting traffickers, granting restitution to victims as well as identifying trafficking victims.
On her part, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, defined human trafficking as a global scourge that violates human rights destroys families, and undermines national security.
”Trafficking explores victims’ vulnerability and robs them of their basic rights of freedom and human dignity.” the criminals behind it destroy families and destroy economic markets while enriching their own criminal enterprises, it is a brutal and inhumane crime,” she said.
The Executive Director, Iroko Onlus Foundation, Esohe Aghatise, while exploring the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) recent statistics shows sexual exploitation industry gain $99 billion dollars.
”This should be more of concern to stakeholders because vulnerable and marginalized Nigerian women are the victims.”
According to Aghatise, “Most of the girls suffer human rights violations at the hand of their traffickers and those they work for.
Every year millions of marginalized women and girls are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, which is a US $99 Billion industry according to the ILO. In Nigeria, the IOM estimates that there are at least 1.4 million victims of human trafficking, a majority of whom are women and girls.
The movie Òlòturé is a powerful film that highlights the scourge of sex trafficking in Nigeria through the story of an undercover journalist in Lagos. Distributed by Netflix, Òlòturé was one of the top 10 most-watched films on Netflix by Nigerians in 2020.