Government of Ondo State has assured residents on the state of its determination to ensure that suspected human traffickers are brought to book.
It also warned that human trafficking would no longer be tolerated, stating that all avenues are being thoroughly harnessed to ensure awareness against human trafficking is intensified.
The Commissioner for Regional Integration and Diaspora Relations Prince Boye Ologbese, made this assertion during a One-day Sensitization/Workshop themed: Human Trafficking A Crime Against Humanity: Securing The Future of Our Youths, at Mandella Hall, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner, Prince Ologbese said the workshop was necessary to address the increasing cases of human trafficking and irregular migration of youths in the society which had become a major issue of concern to both individuals and the government.
He added “Human trafficking is no doubt a wicked act and deliberate violation of human rights, targeting the most vulnerable members in the society. It encompasses a range of exploitative practices such as forced Labour, Sexual Exploitation and Organ Trafficking”.
The Commissioner, while appreciating Government officials, Law enforcement agencies, Royal Fathers, Muslim Clerics, Lawmakers, Iya Lojas and Youths present said, it was organized to enable them arrive at a resolute decision geared towards combating the menace which was fast ripping the future of the youths and afterward take responsibility of securing the safety of the youths, mentally and physically.
Prince Ologbese mentioned human trafficking activities require utmost vigilance, absolute commitment and determination to fight, stressing that prevention plays a crucial role in the war against human trafficking and there must be increased public awareness by educating vulnerable populations.
The Commissioner while calling on all relevant agencies to work together, emphasized that the youths of Ondo State are the future and we must put in place strategies to ensure they are secure and the root causes of the crimes combatted so that the rights and dignity of every individual could be protected effectively.
In his keynote address, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) zonal commander Osogbo, Effeh Ekrika who was represented by the Head of Public Enlightenment, Fibisola Ladipo said Human Trafficking has assumed a new dimension radically different from the violent approach of slave trade which generates 150 billion dollars profit annually and ranks number three (3) just behind trafficking in illicit drugs and arms.
According to him, history has it that since the economic downturn in Nigeria, human trafficking has assumed a dangerous trend whereby organised crime syndicates emerged, specializing in trafficking in Persons “It has changed to a subtle but equally dangerous method of organised recruitment that is less visible but vicious”. He encouraged all the participants to join hands with the Agency in fighting the menace to a standstill.
Giving his goodwill message the Commissioner for Justice, Sir Charles Titiloye who doubles as the Chairman of the Ondo State Task Force against Human Trafficking represented by the State Secretary, Blessing Olanrewaju, said the menace had become multifaceted and though it seems efforts of various bodies in curbing the crime were not yielding fruits, people should not resist fighting the hydra-headed monster called Human Trafficking. He urged the stakeholders “If you see something, say something”.
Earlier in her remarks, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Lola Amuda, appreciated all participants for joining the event to brainstorm upon ways to facilitate preventive measures, foster law enforcement efforts and raise awareness on the roles of various stakeholders including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, community leaders and individuals.