Dr Ndioro Ndiaye, deputy director general of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), on Thursday said that human trafficking had lasted too long and it must be addressed urgently.
Her observation was made during her keynote address at the 1st annual training summit against trafficking in human beings, sexual exploitation in travel and tourism and illegal migration as a development issue, at the Sunbeach Resort Hotel, Bakau, The Gambia.
Dr Ndiaye further explained that, “the reasons pushing people to migrate within West Africa are manifold. Some leave in search of better opportunities. Others look for security, escaping from conflict, persecution, violence, poverty, natural disasters or human rights abuses”.
She further observed that, “in today’s West Africa, it is recognized that agriculture, mining, the informal sector and domestic work, are labour intensive activities in which working conditions are often close to exploitation”.
The IOM deputy director maintained that, “the case of child trafficking is significantly worse because of the transformation of ancient cultural practices, such as putting children in care of relatives or children sent to Quranic schools that evolve negatively losing their social value to economic profit”.
Citing as an example, she opined, “a sample stroll through Dakar’s streets reflects the seriousness of the phenomenon, at every street corner, children are forced to beg, extending their hands to cars and pedestrians hoping to collect the money required to keep them safe from abuse by their exploiters”.
“They are to spend their childhood far from their families and communities, directly exposed to the numerous dangers of the city streets”, she emphasised.
In order to fight against human trafficking, she opined that, “the IOM’s approach consists of attacking the trade simultaneously on multiple fronts, notably to prevent trafficking, especially in countries of origin, and to assist and protect victims”.
She went on, “this assistance is quarantined in the transit and destination countries followed by socio-economic reintegration in home countries”.
Dr Ndiaye further told her audience that, “I am convinced that through collaborative action, by maintaining a continuous dialogue between origin and destination countries, we will develop legal migration free from any exploitation in the interest of all”.
In his contribution, the chairman of the occasion H.E. Dodou Bammy Jagne, The Gambian ambassador to the United States of America, expressed happiness over the maiden sub-Sahara training summit, while noting that trafficking was worst than slavery. He therefore challenged stakeholders to take up the responsibility to avert trafficking.