LAWYERS ALERT AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

Human trafficking is one of the modern-day forms of slavery. Sex trafficking, forced labor, and debt bondage are the three most common forms of human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are usually coerced or deceived with false promises of education, jobs, or a better standard of living. Perpetrators of this act take advantage of the economic situation, educational background, and level of exposure of their victims to lure them to unfamiliar terrains, where they coerce them to do their bidding. Lawyers Alert is made up of lawyers and other professionals who are committed to the promotion, protection, and defense of the rights of vulnerable and marginalized persons with a special bias for women and girls. The vision of the Organization is “a world where women and vulnerable groups are free from injustice” and the mission is “to empower women and vulnerable groups through knowledge of their rights and accessible means of enforcing same.”

Lawyers Alert has over the years addressed the issue of human trafficking through her Thursday literacy series ( Watch here, here, and here). Through this medium she has reached over 25,000 persons across her social media platforms, educating them on human trafficking and how it violates the rights of the victims. Lawyers Alert has also carried out advocacy on human trafficking to the Human Rights Commission and NAPTIPs, here are some pictures from her advocacy visits, and also wrote an article on human trafficking in 2020 Link.

Lawyers Alert is currently intervening in two human trafficking cases that are currently in court.

Lawyers Alert got the first call in 2018, from a frantic mother who couldn’t find her daughter. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the said young lady and four of her friends had been trafficked to another African country for sex trafficking. All five ladies come from economically disadvantaged families and had been promised a better life and green pasture in Lafia if they could raise some amount of money for transportation, which they did. From the horse’s mouth, we learned that these ladies including the ones they met, were lodged in a hotel before their departure from their home state for a night. As they passed through Lafia, one of our clients raised a question and they were told that the location had been changed to Lagos, after a few minutes of rebuttal, they journeyed through to Lagos. They got to Lagos at night where their companions (young men) took away their phones and monies and they were given dinner. Our client stated that they all slept off and woke up to realize that they were in a foreign land where English is not spoken or understood. From her inquiry, part of the money they raised was used to process their travel documents. All five girls were eventually rescued separately, it took about 3 months from the date of the call to get all five girls back to Nigeria. The matter is currently in the High Court for prosecution.

The second human trafficking case Lawyers Alert is intervening in was reported by one of her partners. A 16-year-old was taken from her mother by the accused person on the promise that she would get her a domestic job in Lagos. The accused lady rather brought the young girl to Makurdi where she forced her into child labor, this was ongoing for about one month. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she was almost raped by a client of her trafficker. This incident made a neighbor put a call across to Lawyers Alert’s partner, a Women Rights Organization.

Human Trafficking can be done internally (within the country/region) or externally (outside the region/country/continent). Women and children are mostly victims of human trafficking as they are the most vulnerable persons. Human Trafficking is a growing rot in our society, all hands must be on deck to ensure that this menace is stopped. Kudos to the neighbor in our last case, that young girl has been rescued and reunited with her mother. Survivors of Human trafficking suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst other physical and medical issues they may develop as a result of the horrific experience they went through. They also have to go through therapy and rehabilitation processes to help them reintegrate into society.

Human traffickers are not aliens, they are persons who live amongst us, they cause immense hurt and pain (emotional, physical, and psychological) to their victims. They have no respect for the human rights of others, they have no respect for human life and dignity. They murder the souls of their victims and sometimes their bodies. They are not fit to be in our neighborhood, someone you know maybe their next victim. Trust me you don’t want to search for a loved one, so if you see something, say something. Consider it your contribution to Nation Building, we are just a phone call away when you are ready to talk to us, and don’t worry, it is a free toll phone line, you won’t be spending a dime. All you have to do is dial the number (0809 993 7318) or send us a mail at lawyersalert_nig@yahoo.com

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