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AFWID2018: African Women Unite their Voices for Stronger Legislation against Human Trafficking

At the just concluded 2018 African Women Intercultural Dialogue held at the National Women Center Abuja, in which participants were drawn from different sector of the society and also from different nations in the continent African women came to the conclusion that Africans need to do more to curb the menace of human trafficking.

The event organized by All Africa Media Network in collaboration with UN Women Nigeria, UNESCO, International Organization for Migration -UN Migration Agency, National Agency For Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Center for Women Development  on the theme : Human Trafficking , Calling  African Women, Policy Makers and Influencers To Action Against Cultural Realities Aiding Human Trafficking, Domestic Servitude and Sex Slavery.

The cultural dialogue allowed multi-modal contributions that reaches out to all interested on the issues of human trafficking- to articulate on the complex nature of this problem especially in this era of Information overload.

Former Gambian Vice-President, Hajiya Fatoumata Tambajang Jallow, who led the delegate at the dialogue called for stronger legislation to curtail the menace of human trafficking in Africa Tambajang underscored the need to have strong legislation to deter people from engaging in human trafficking, saying that government, the civil society and other stakeholders must work together to strengthen extant anti-human trafficking legislation.

She stressed that this would go a long way to address the menace of human trafficking in a more comprehensive way. “When we look at the root causes of human trafficking, the most common one is the limited opportunities which young people have in their countries. Tambajang, nonetheless, stressed the need for Africa to work with the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and other development partners in efforts to create opportunities that would aid the socio-economic fulfillment of the youth. Nana Obaapa Awindor, Queen mother of Afigya-Kwabre in the Ashanti Region of Ghana and the First President of the Continental Executive Board of the African Queens and Women Cultural Leaders Network,  in her contribution explained that human trafficking is not peculiar to Africa; when we are talking about human trafficking, it is not only about Africa, but the world at large, in Ghana there are agencies that send people abroad for trafficking.”

She said in Africa poverty was responsible for parents giving out their children for trafficking and some of them were used for prostitution. She commended the role of the social media in curbing the menace of trafficking while calling on parents to join the fight to stem the tide of trafficking.

She alleged that that the traditional authority also had a big role to play to stop the menace of trafficking, urging all to go back to the traditional system.

Our television and internet are taking us away from cultures and what use to bring us together , our cultural activities are fading  away with advent of internet she said.

Titi Atiku-Abubakar, the wife of former Vice President of Nigeria narrated how she sponsored a bill to eradicate human trafficking and child labour which led to her founding WOTCLEF. She conceived the dream to fight trafficking 30 year ago and when her husband became the vice president, it was an opportunity to push the course through.

“I have been doing this job for almost 20 years; I conceived the dream 30 years ago.” Mrs. Abubakar recounted the numerous she encountered before the bill could scale through, adding that she had to become a regular visitor to the NASS before it was passed.

Other speakers at the event which includes Prof. Phillip Ogbonna of Soren Kierkergaard, Academic Society Africa, Amb. Ifeoma Ejiogu Africa Focal person of United States Latino America Chamber of Commerce, Dr Beatrice Ubeku President of West Africa Women Association of Nigeria under the aegis of ECOWAS.

The delegation to the dialogue came to the conclusion that the government has a greater role to play economically to make the continent attractive to the youths for them to find a place in it and not wish for illusory paradise elsewhere.

They urged African leaders   to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in job creation activities so as to encourage young people, who were potential victims of human trafficking, to jettison the idea of travelling overseas to boost their living standards.  To also develop sound economic policies that would spur economic growth and provide opportunities in the agricultural and productive sectors as well as trade incentives should be put in place to discourage the youth from being ensnared by human traffickers.

The Government of Gambia has opted to host the 2019 edition of the dialogue which is scheduled for 25 to 28th July 2019 as African women needs to continuously seek for alternatives and solutions to socio-cultural issues undermining the economic well being of the African woman.

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