The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has called on Nollywood celebrities to join hands in the fight against human trafficking as they play a vital role in society.

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According to NAN, Fatima Waziri, director-general (DG) of the agency, spoke in Abuja at the premiere of ‘Enslaved’, a film based on the fight against human trafficking and child labour in Nigeria.

‘Enslaved’ is a true-life story of how young Nigerian girls are trafficked across the Sahara to cities around the world with the promise of sponsoring their education.

But on arrival to the cities, some were introduced into prostitution and compelled to make daily returns in exchange for their livelihood.

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The movie creates more awareness on human trafficking, child labour, and the sexual exploitation of young girls in Nigeria.

Waziri, who was represented by Jessica Arikpo, the assistant chief intelligence officer from the public enlightenment department of NAPTIP, said the film practitioners should use their status as role models to create awareness that will further strengthen the nation’s fight against human trafficking.

“Between 2014 and 2015, the Agency produced a weekly TV series, Itohan, and am sure some of you must have watched it on NTA, the result of that programme was quite huge as it made a lot of impact in the lives of young people,” she said.

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“NAPTIP has no doubt that the movie would continue where other movies, including Itohan stopped, in portraying the dangers of human trafficking and child labour and smuggling of migrants.

“I am persuaded that the premiere of this movie and the lunch of one community campaign will kick-start a new era in the use of various awareness creation platforms in fighting human trafficking.

“I want to also use this medium to call on the Nollywood celebrities to kindly join forces with NAPTIP in the fight as they play a vital role in our society in spreading anti-human trafficking, especially to the youths who watch their parts in shows and movies.

“These young Nigerians look up to them as role models so it should become part of  their cooperate social responsibility to join NAPTIP to fight human trafficking.”

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Nwolu Okerewa, the keynote speaker at the premiere, said he was glad to be a part of the occasion, which also marks the launch of ‘one community campaign’, an initiative created to mitigate human trafficking, child labour, and enslavement in Nigeria.

Okerewa also urged all concerned Nigerians to make the campaign a part of sensitising their neighbours and people around them to stop the proliferation of human trafficking.

“I am really delighted to be a part of this initiative on human trafficking or modern day slavery which are all names that are used interchangeably to refer to crimes whereby traffickers exploit and profit at the expense of others,” he said.

“By compelling them to perform labour or engage in commercial sex, the United States department of State in 2010 reported that Nigeria is a source, transit and destination for countries for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons.

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“Including forced labour and forced prostitution, it is not worthy that this modern-day slavery transcends international boundaries and is not limited to Nigeria alone.

“Using a network of people, recruitment is done from rural areas. We are particularly interested in rural areas in Nigeria where women and girls are subjected to involuntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.

“And boys are forced to labour as street vendors and domestic servitude in mining and begging.”

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