By Adekunle Peters
The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), has disclosed that persons who with hearing disability are now tafgets of human trafficking.
The Edo State Chairperson of JONAPWD, Ms Ann Ojugo, disclosed this on Sunday in Benin, after a road walk organized to mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
The event was organise by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCF) and other stakeholders.
Ojugo said that more persons with disabilities are becoming victims of trafficking and exploitation due to their specific nature of not having easy access to information.
She said: “Most of the broadcast stations don’t use sign language interpreters to present issues of national interest, so if a deaf person is watching a programme on human trafficking, he or she can not understand.
“People traffic PWDs from rural areas to the cities for exploration. You see some of them in the motor parks begging for money. Some PWDs in Nigeria are promised greener pasture abroad but they end up being duped and exploited.”
Ojugo however assured that the association will continue to partner NAPTIP in the fight against trafficking.
Earlier in his speech, the Edo State Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr. Nduka Nwawenne, said that Malians are now being trafficked into Benin city, the State capital.
This is even as he disclosed that over 20,000 trafficked Nigerian boys and girls are currently stranded in the West African country of Mali.
According to him, “We just gathered intelligence that victims are now being trafficked from Mali to Benin City. We are currently investigating.
“Over 20,000 Nigerian young girls and boys, particularly girls are currently stranded in Mali. Mali used to be a destination for so many trafficked victims from this command, but the Malians are now coming.
“We have heard stories of Malian men who are ready to do whatever they can do to meet Nigerian girls, but now the reverse is the case. A victim had once confessed that they earned more money going to Mali.”
The Edo NAPTIP commander lamented that in the midst of the escalating trafficking issues, global national responses, particularly in developing States, appears to be deteriorating “by 11% in 2020 and convictions plummeted by 27%, illustrating a worldwide slowdown in the criminal justice response to trafficking”.
He therefore urged stakeholders to collaborate more in awareness raising and striving to promote community ownership of anti-human trafficking drives.