By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
Edo State Government has pledged to stamp out the menace of human trafficking and illegal migration from the state, even as the government sets up necessary legal and institutional framework to combat the scourge.
The state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who stated this in commemoration of the 2018 International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition, also called for strengthening of transnational ties between state and non-state actors to end modern slavery and other ills, which benefit from human trafficking.
The International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition, which is marked on August 23, every year, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), is to remember the Transatlantic slave trade and its abolition.
Obaseki noted that though slavery may have been abolished centuries ago, it continues to rear its head in the guise of human trafficking and other forms of forced enslavement for social and economic gains.
According to him, “On this day, it is important to recall the milestones recorded in the fight against human trafficking, a trend that almost deprived us of our youth population, which had foreshadowed a dim future for us. As we mark this, we are forced to signpost the modern version of this societal ill: human trafficking.
“To stem this, we set up the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking; enacted the Edo State Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Law 2018 and set machinery in motion for top-of-the-range basic and technical education in the state.
‘These are geared towards curbing the trend of human trafficking and ensuring that our young ones get the best of education in the state to make them competitive at home and abroad.”
He disclosed that the state government’s rehabilitation and reintegration programme is geared towards restoring the dignity of those that may have been caught in the web of human trafficking, as efforts are in top gear to ensure that they settle back properly into society.
He however, called on the international community to continue to support the state government’s effort and urged for more support for governments working to curb all forms of slavery.
The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition had its maiden celebration in Haiti on August 23, 1998.