President Muhammadu Buhari has called for collaborative efforts among nations to fight human trafficking and smuggling of persons.
Buhari made the call at the 16th INTERPOL Conference on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Monday in Abuja.
The President, who was represented by Mr Olusegun Adekunle, Permanent Secretary, General Service Office, office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said: “Human trafficking requires our collective efforts to eradicate which destroying the future of our youths.”
He said Nigeria was among the first set of countries to domesticate United Nations relevant protocols on trafficking in persons and smuggling of persons.
Buhari said the protocols were at various times domesticated, resulting in the country’s enactment of the trafficking in persons prohibition law enforcement Act and Eradication Act 2003 and the 1963 Immigration Act.
He said the Immigration Act empowered the service to combat the smuggling of migrants, adding that the country had recorded a landmark in the fight against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
President Buhari said the collaborative efforts of the country’s security agencies had resulted in several interceptions, arrest and prosecution and conviction of 359 traffickers and smugglers.
He urged the INTERPOL and relevant agencies to deepen already established collaboration in order to combat this modern day slavery to a standstill.
Buhari said that collaborative efforts across the international borders would go a long way to identify, arrest and prosecute traffickers and smugglers in their countries of origin.
He called on the INTERPOL to consider Abuja, Nigeria for the location of the proposed Strategic Service Centre.
“Nigeria is ready to play host to the centre and we will avail you with all the necessary assistance within the provisions of the law,” he said.
The president said that unless the country fight corruption, the little resources budgeted for development would be stolen by few elites, exposing the youths to poverty and becoming vulnerable to trafficking and smuggling.
In a remark, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, said that the force was in the forefront in the fight against the ugly trend.
Idris, who was represented by DIG Agboola Oshodi-Glover, said that trafficking and smuggling in persons posed a threat to both the victims and the countries of the world.
He said that recently the force upgraded the anti-human trafficking section with the appointment of a Commissioner of police.
Mr Jurgen Stock, Secretary General of INTERPOL said that trafficking in human beings and smuggling remained a prominent challenge for law enforcement.
He noted that the trend had opened the door for the exploitation of those simply seeking improved well-being and opportunities.
Stock urged other participating countries at the conference to prioritise the fight against human trafficking and smuggling in persons.
He said that INTERPOL had launched a platform consisting of 110 countries and 150 specialists from immigration, customs and investigative units to exchange information.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 500 participants from 70 countries are attending the conference.
NAN also reports that more than 500 specialists from security agencies, Non-Governmental and international organisations, public and private sectors are also participating.