The National Agency for the Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has raised the alarm over the undying desire of some Nigerians and African youths to leave the shores of the continent irrespective of the means of exit.
The agency said that such massive migration of young Africans through the Mediterranean sea and deserts to Europe was a huge setback to socio-economic development of Nigeria and Africa.
The agency was also unhappy with recent calls to de-criminalise prostitution, activities of pimps and its sponsors, stressing that the move could outrightly rubbish the huge investment that global leaders have made in combating sex trafficking.
NAPTIP Director General, Julie Okah-Donli, raised the concerns, on Tuesday, in Abuja, at a conference on irregular migration organised by Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.
The conference was organised to raise awareness on the menace of irregular migration and possibly provide platform for relevant stakeholders to discuss and proffer solutions to the issues.
The NAPTIP boss, however, in her remarks, maintained that the greatest asset of a country is its youths, so no country can survive the cost of human trafficking and irregular migration.
She said: “We must, as a people, begin to invest in things that can redress the push factors or grey grasses that often compel young Nigerians and Africans to migrate illegally or fall prey to traffickers.
“The attendant cost of reception and screening of returnees withdrawn from camps in Libya has left NAPTIP with deep holes in its resources”.
She, therefore, called on the European Union to consider, and adopt the Nordic model which outrightly criminalised sex trading, as means of combating human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Also, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, in his remarks, linked the massive migration of African youths to unemployment and get-rich-quick syndrome.
Kaigama, who is the coadjutor Bishop of Catholic Archdiocese Abuja, maintained that the Catholic church was ready to work with the government and non governmental organisations, to tackle human trafficking and irregular migration.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, added that the church has taken the issue of human trafficking and irregular migration as a primary assignment and would work with relevant stakeholders to tackle it.