LAGOS, NIGERIA- The International Development Secretary for the United Kingdom (U.K.), Priti Patel, announced that an additional £7 million will be made available to support the efforts to combat modern slavery and human trafficking in Nigeria. Ms. Patel called for “a world free from the abhorrent trade of modern slavery” during a trip to Lagos where she visited a safe house run by NAPTIP (Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons). She met with some of the facility’s counselors and interacted with children as young as seven years old who have been victims of trafficking and modern slavery. Ms. Patel announced that the additional funding would be utilized to support the victims during their reintegration back into society, for counseling and to protect them from the re-traumatization of trafficking in the future.
Nigeria is believed to be the fourth largest supplier of trafficked individuals to the U.K. Even more disturbing is the fact that as much as 80% of the young women who travel to Europe from Nigeria are potential victims of sex trafficking. Other reports estimate that approximately 845,500 Nigerians are living in slavery worldwide. This outlines the need for more governments to step up in support of victims. This support will assist in the strides that have already been made around the world, Nigeria and the U.K. to reduce and extinguish these forms of modern day slavery.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has already previously demonstrated that the abolition of modern slavery is a top priority for her administration and this most recent announcement by the International Development Secretary reinforces that commitment. The British Government is championing the call for reform, which will have a widespread impact internationally. The work thus far has substantially been geared towards investigating and bringing perpetrators to justice; however, moving forward, these newly allocated funds will be utilized to support programs for victims where they are most needed within Nigeria. Funds will be allocated to support communities, particularly those from which young women are considered to be at a high risk for trafficking, such as Edo State and others in the Niger Delta region. Ultimately, the goal is that these funds will generate programs which will provide tangible economic alternatives to potential victims, thus starving the trade of modern day slavery.
By Sophie White