Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq has disclosed that human traffickers are now taking advantage of social media to woo unsuspecting victims.

Farouq disclosed this during a webinar to commemorate World Day Against Human Trafficking, with the theme ‘Human Trafficking And The Covid-19 Pandemic: Learning Curve’, put together by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

She said the Covid-19 pandemic is putting the world under enormous strain and as has directly or indirectly destabilized the lives of everyone.

According to her, traffickers are adjusting their business models to the ‘new normal’ created by the pandemic, especially through communication technology, revealing that social media is being used as a platform for horrendous transactions with people as the commodity.

She said the effects of human trafficking are far-reaching and often devastating when victims are trafficked, they are enslaved, abused physically mentally, and/or made into sex slaves.

Besides, Farouq said girls and young women are usually the primary targets of traffickers and some of the impact on the victims include, unwanted pregnancies, loss of education, loss of childhood, and loss of economic opportunities; often culminating in life-threatening diseases and death.

She blamed increasing social and economic inequalities as the root causes of human trafficking in the country, however adding that the FG is responding to this through several interventions designed to help Nigerians as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister also commended NAPTIP for setting up the event and appreciated the contributions of the panelists, made up of experts and key stakeholders.

“Today is a day set aside annually by the United Nations to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and sue for the promotion and protection of their rights.

While the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is mindful of the importance of this day to government and society, the Federal Government remains committed to eradicating the deplorable phenomenon of trafficking in persons,” she said.

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