By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

House of Representatives, Thursday, resolved to investigate the issuance of operational licenses to tour operators labor recruiters, exchange agencies, employment agencies in a bid to end modern slavery and human trafficking.

The resolution was sequel to the consideration and adoption of a motion under urgent of public importance moved by Hon. Ayokunle Isiaka.

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Leading the debate to the motion, Hon. Isiaka expressed concern that many unsuspecting Nigerians especially the youths who in their quest for employments fall victims in the hands of the fraudsters.

He said: “The successful implant mechanisms, systems and vehicles of social development decadence and the root cause-of the challenges facing the development of integrated and coordinated plan in Nigeria.

“The need to call for investigation on the dealings and activities of travel agencies, tour operators, labour recruiters, labour exchange agencies, sports and educational agencies, and other bodies involved in movement of Citizens in and out of Nigeria as the first point of call to addressing the issue of modern slavery out of the country in particular reference to citizens migrating to the Middle East.

“Modern day slavery and its related issues are commixed in a web of complexities and continues to thrive because of the growing lapses in our Institutions amongst others. To share key facts and figures from the International Labour Organization ILO, there are estimated 40.3 million people trapped in modern slavery around the world at every given time.

“Of this 40.3 million, 24.9 million people are estimated to be within situations of forced labour. Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited within the private sector. This includes fields such as domestic work, construction, and agriculture. 8 million of this 24.9 million are persons suffering forced sexual exploitation.

“Around 4 million of this 24.9 million are in situations of forced labour imposed by state authorities. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, 99% of the victims are in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors. Nigeria ranks top amongst Nation with the sub-Sahara region with her citizens estimated to make up an estimated 25% of the victims trapped owing the issue before us.

“The House is concerned that Nigeria occupies a central position in West Africa as a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation and forced labour. Men, women and children from Nigeria are trafficked to Western Europe, the Middle East, and West and Central African countries under deception for purpose of exploit in a wide range of industries, including sex trade, baby factory, domestic work, mining, stone quarrying, manufacturing, and work in farms and plantations.

“The House is worried that these impunities have become headstrong and rock-solid because legislations are more off-shelf legislations than they are enforced. Any legislation that is not backed with the weight of enforcement is replete with Constant abuse by the perpetrators. In that vein, one can boldly sey that Modern slavery perpetrators in Nigeria have been able to grow this insidious economic evil over the years, and continually find expression in perpetrating these evils because of the weak systems and unchecked institutions.

“The House is further worried about the unanswered questions of: How, when, who recruits and receives at the other end? Are part of the first steps to nipping these issues in the bud,” he noted.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its  Committees on Labour and Productivity, Human Rights (NAPTIP), Youth, and Diaspora to carry out an investigative hearing on the process of issuance of licenses to tour operators, labor recruiters, labor exchange/employment agencies to share key facts and figures from the International Labour Organization ILO, NON-Governmental Organizations (NGoS) in the country and report back to the House within 6 weeks.

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