NIGERIA: Archbishop Suggests Collaboration with State to help Victims of Human Trafficking

ABUJA, NOVEMBER 30, 2018 (CISA)-Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has called upon the Church and the government in Nigeria to collaborate in initiating programs to restore the dignity of victims of human trafficking.

The Archbishop was speaking in Abuja during a conference under the theme ‘Church and state working together to restore the dignity of the victims of human trafficking.’

“Our collaboration with the government must supply financial, spiritual and legal assistance for victims,” said Archbishop Akubeze.

He added that, “…pursuing those responsible for the crime of human trafficking is also a way to restore the dignity of the victims. Our laws must ensure that those directly responsible for human trafficking are brought to justice.”

In his address, the Archbishop of Abuja John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan reminded the government of its responsibility to improve the national economy adding that with improved living conditions Nigerians would be less inclined to attempt illegal emigration and end up as victims of organized crime.

The cardinal denounced “…the most atrocious form of human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children and minors, activities controlled by criminal gangs which make enormous profits to the detriment of helpless victims.”

The conference was organized by the Sancta Marta Group African Regional Conference in collaboration with the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN), reported Fides on November 29.

The President of Santa Marta, Cardinal Vincent Nichols through his video message to the conference recorded in Rome during the synod had earlier emphasized his hopes that those involved would, “concentrate very much on the plight and the care of victims of human trafficking”. He stressed that, “victims must be at the center of our work and of our concerns”.

He praised the work that is being done in Nigeria, not only to help victims but also, to provide the circumstances in which people might not leave, might not be caught, and cheated into slavery.