By Bridget Ikyado
The Action Against Trafficking in Persons Cluster of the Justice Development and Peace Commission Abuja, has sensitised People with Disabilities (PWDs) on the dangers of human trafficking.
At the sensitisation held in Abuja on Wednesday, Executive Director of the commission, Rev Fr. Solomon Uko said the aim was to engage PWDs to join the campaign against human trafficking.
The advocacy consultation involved the People With Disabilities Network.
“The trap of traffickers is not limited to anyone, everyone is at risk of trafficking in Nigeria,” he said.
Uko added that the essence of the advocacy was to strengthen the capacity of PWDs on key trafficking issues and how to identify human traffickers.
He called on the PWDs Network to join hands in the fight against the threat.
Mr Abdulganiyu Abubakar, National President, Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour, said traffickers take advantage of people’s vulnerability to perpetrate their evil act.
Abubakar, who was represented by Mr Samuel Olayemi, the network Project Manager, advised PWDs to be wary of the tactics adopted by traffickers to trap their victims.
“It is very important to carry along PWDs in activities aimed at tracking and tackling Trafficking in Persons (TIPs).
”This is the platform for us to have conversation on the advocacy, which will go along way in combating TIPs,” he added.
Mr Christian Agbo, Chairman, National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities, FCT chapter, said “traffickers will always look for vulnerability as that of Persons With Disabilities to exploit”.
“Which is why there is a need to disclose the threat of trafficking and let you know how the traffickers are playing their tactics,” he said.
Agbo said it was time to create more public knowledge about the Disability Act, which has criminalized using PWDs for alms soliciting.
A member of the Abuja Association of the Deaf, Mr Muyiwa Afolanya, warned that “disability is not immunity for committing crimes”, and urged PWDs to shun all criminal tendencies.
He advised them to utilise the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities to demand for their rights whenever necessary.
Others who spoke during the advocacy meeting were Mrs Onyemaechi Nneka, Chief Executive Officer, Women and Girls with Albinism Network and Mr Obinna Ekujereonye, Executive Director Disability Advancement Initiative.
The rest include Mr Gabriel Onyali, NAPTIP Protection Officer, Abuja Municipal Area Council and Mr TImothy Ejeh, Programme Director of JDPC.
They called for more enlightenment and building stronger synergy to tackle human trafficking.
Ejeh particularly noted that PWDs “are mostly invisible in laws and policies addressing trafficking at both national and international levels.
“As a consequence, they are inadequately protected against trafficking and supported as victims.”
He therefore called on the PWDs to exploit all available laws to protect themselves from traffickers and other activities that posed threats to them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the advocacy was aimed at implementing the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project and seek increase funding for NAPTIP.
It was also to reactivate the Victims of Trafficking Trust Fund and improve prosecution of traffickers.
Members of the project include the JDPC, Earth Spring Intl, Children Against Child Abuse, Health/Justice Development Peace Initiative, Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria and CEDARSEED Foundation. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed