By Anietie Akpan, Calabar

Worries have been expressed in Cross River State over the rate of human trafficking in Nigeria, as the country contributes over 10 per cent of 300 million people trafficked worldwide.

Speaking on Saturday in a one-day symposium organised by Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Cross River at Ikang in Bakassi Council of the state and sponsored by Expertise France on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons with the theme: “Use and Abuse of Technology”, experts described trafficking in Nigeria as alarming, yet no much funding to check the situation.

Publicity Secretary, Child Protection Network (CPN), Mr. Williams Arikpo, said:
“We have over 300 million victims of trafficking as of today covering a period of past 10 years all over the world and it is a $150 billion industry. There is a lot of investment in it by people and that is why it is thriving.

“Out of the 300 million victims, Nigeria accounts for more than 10 per cent because Nigeria is a major trafficking port. In Africa, Nigeria serves as a source and a destination. That means there are people who are trafficked from somewhere else to Nigeria and from Nigeria to other places. I think Nigeria is the highest in Africa actually.

On the laws against human trafficking and what the Federal Government should do to help check the alarming rate, Arikpo said: “Already we have laws that have been enacted in the country and we expect the enforcement of these laws.

“We also expect government to support and fund anti-trafficking efforts. The Immigration here is grossly under-funded. NAPTIC too is grossly under-funded and they don’t have the capacity or facilities to do the work. The whole Cross River NAPTIC does not have a single vehicle. They have been struggling to furnish a rehabilitation centre donated to them by the state government. The Federal Government should fund the necessary agencies of government.”

On her part, the South-South Coordinator, NACTAL, Mrs. Victoria Ukpong said: “The symposium is all about sensitisation on the ills in trafficking in persons and on how to prevent persons from being trafficked. Victims are being deceived, coerced and traffic for exploitation. It could be sexual or labour exploitation. So people must ask questions before travelling and find out. So if you must travel, travel right”.

A traditional ruler in Bakassi, Chief Bassey IbokAbasi, lamented the high incidence of human trafficking in the Bakassi area.

“We, the traditional rulers are ready to cooperate with NACTAL and government agencies to ensure that human trafficking is eliminated,” he said.

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