By Victor Ahiuma-Young

AS the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, steps up its campaign against human trafficking and other forms of forced labour including child labour in Nigeria, human trafficking and other forms of forced labour have been on the increase globally because of huge profit being generated.

According to the International Labour Organisation, ILO, not less than $150 billion profits are earned annually by traffickers across the globe.

ILO, in its report lamented that an estimated 21 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery with 14.2 million (68%) exploited for Labour, 4.5 million (22%) sexually exploited, and 2.2 million (10%) exploited in state-imposed forced labour.

ILO explained that Forced Labour  takes place in many different industries stating that out of the 14.2 million trafficking victims exploited for Labour; 7.1 million (50%) forced Labour victims work in construction, manufacturing, mining, or utilities; 3.4 million (24%) forced labour victims are domestic workers; while 3.5 million (25%) forced labour victims work in agriculture.

It noted that 55% of trafficking victims around the world are women and girls and 45% are men and boys; 15.4 million victims (74%) are aged 18 or older, with the number of children under the age of 18 estimated at 5.5 million (26%).

According to the report, the Asia-pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced laborers with 11.7 million (56% of the global figure).

Africa has 3.7 million (18%) followed by Latin America and the Caribbean with 1.8 million (9%).

Countries in central, south-eastern and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States have 1.6 million (7%). The Developed Economies and European Union account for 1.5 million (7%).

There are an estimated 600,000 (3%) victims in the Middle East.

Human trafficking does not always involve travel to the destination of exploitation:   9.1 million victims of forced labour (44%) moved either internally or internationally, while the majority, 11.8 million (56%), were subjected to forced labor within their place of origin.

Victims spend an average of 18 months in forced labour, although this varied with different forms of forced labour.

Human trafficking earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, according to the ILO.

The breakdown of the profits by sector shows   $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation, $34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities, $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing, just as $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor.

While only 22% of victims are trafficked for sex, sexual exploitation earns 66% of the global profits of human trafficking.

The average annual profits generated by each woman in forced sexual servitude ($100,000) is estimated to be six times more than the average profits generated by each trafficking victim worldwide ( $21,800), according to the Organization for Security and Co  operation in Europe, OSCE.

OSCE studies show that sexual exploitation can yield a return on investment ranging from 100% to 1,000%, while an enslaved laborer can produce more than 50% profit even in less profitable markets (e.g., agricultural labor in India).

In the Netherlands, investigators were able to calculate the profit generated by two sex traffickers from a number of victims. One trafficker earned $18,148 per month from four victims (for a total of $127,036) while the second trafficker earned $295,786 in the 14 months that three women were sexually exploited according to the OSCE.

It will be recalled that ahead of June 11, World Day Against Child Labour, 2017, ILO disclosed that there were over 168 million children in child labour across the globe, including Nigeria, lamenting that 85 million of them are engaged in hazardous work.

ILO however, said it is working closely with its government and employers’ and workers’ constituents, as well as with other international organizations, civil society and the media to support children affected by child labour in conflicts and disasters.

Speaking at the just concluded 106th session of the International Labour Conference, ILC,in Geneva, Switzerland,   Director-General of ILO, Mr. Guy Ryder expressed regret that the world was today facing the greatest refugee crisis for decades because of countries affected by conflict and disaster, even as homes and schools had been destroyed.

He explained that ILO was emphasizing the plight of children caught up in conflicts and disasters, and who were at particular risk of child labour.

According   to him: “Many families lose their means to earn a living. Family and social protection systems break down and increase the risk of child labour. Child refugees and migrants, particularly those on the move who are separated from their families, are especially vulnerable and can easily fall prey to trafficking and child labour.

Those who stay – or are left – behind are especially vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour, including in mining or scavenging for metal and minerals in war-torn areas, clearing rubble, or working in the streets.

In the most extreme cases, children find themselves as combatants fighting adult wars. Others are used by armed forces or groups as spies, helpers and porters – or become victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. All children have the right to be protected from child labour. Yet, around the world, there are still 168 million children in child labour. Eighty-five million of them are engaged in hazardous work.

Few days ago, NAPTIP said it had arrested a 45-year-old woman, Rhoda, alias Mama Bobo, for her alleged involvement in the trafficking of young girls from Benin to Europe.

NAPTIP Head of Press and Public Relations, Mr. Josiah Emerole, said in a statement in Abuja that the operatives of the agency in Benin Zonal Command arrested the suspect in an early morning operation on Tuesday.

Emerole explained that Omorogie, a nurse by profession and an indigene of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, was nabbed by the operatives at 5a.m. at her 65 Osayande Street, off Upper Sakponda Road residence in Benin, the state capital.

He said the suspected trafficker had been in hiding since June 16, following the arrest of one of her gang members, one Monday, by NAPTIP operatives that rescued three of the victims.

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