The Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication (WOTCLEF), an NGO, has called on the new administration to ensure the full implementation of the Child Rights Act (CRA).
The call was made today at a town hall meeting organized to raise public awareness on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants among communities in Abaji, near Abuja.
National Coordinator of WOTCLEF, Mrs. Veronica k. Umaru,who was speaking at the event said, “Abaji, a border community of Abuja was chosen for this campaign because it is a rural community and a gateway into Abuja.”
Buttressing the choice of Abaji, Umaru stated that people come from the southern parts of Nigeria into Abuja through the community, saying it was important the organization lets people know that trafficking in children is a crime and when they come across traffickers or trafficked persons, they have the responsibility to report.
“We want the rural community to know about child trafficking, labour and abuse. Today there has been a lot of awareness and also more precaution been taken by people who traffic children because they know that there is a law against trafficking and abuse of children.”
Speaking on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants among communities, she said, “We know that thousands of children have been trafficked either within Nigeria or outside and recently we got reports of over 50 children who have been trafficked into Abuja and are used as domestic helps whom we have rescued and sent back to their parents in various parts of Nigeria.”
Earlier, the Director of Public Enlightenment for the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Arinze Orakwue, described trafficking as ‘a clear and present day danger’ as it denies children their basic rights.
He assured that government is doing its best to curb child trafficking, noting that the law against trafficking in persons has been created and amended twice with stiffer sentences and penalties for offenders.
“There is a minimum sentence regime right now, which means that no trafficker will get it lightly and some penalties come even with sentencing and fine. So, the protective environment for victims has been expanded with capacity for the agency to enhance better protective environment for victims,” he said.
Yatchit Dala, of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), urged Nigerians to respect children’s rights by involving them in issues concerning them.
“Children are very wise, they may be young but they have to be involved in issues that affect them though with adult guidance. Child rights is divided into four; child survival, child development, child participation and child protection. Every child should be registered at birth to help policy makers know the number of children and how to make policies concerning them,” she urged.