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December 2019
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Forum in Abuja Addresses Human Trafficking on the UN Day of the Remembrance of Victims of Slavery

Abuja, Nigeria - In response to the UN's call for the observation of the UN Day for the Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, UPF-Nigeria organized a one-day interactive roundtable discussion on March 27, 2013 to commemorate the UN day.

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For the UN, this year’s event was more of a celebration of freedom as depicted by the official banner for the event with the inscription: “Forever Free, Celebrating Emancipation.” UPF promotes programs and projects that aim at improving the well being of all human beings and the realization of a harmonious peaceful ideal world.

With its vision for a world ruled by true love and guided by the universal principles of peace, with ideal families as its base and foundation, UPF took the opportunity to bring to the fore issues that pose great threat to human family, freedom, dignity, and rights.

Stimulated by the UN Secretary General’s passionate call, UPF-Nigeria was inspired to examine its national events--past, present, and future--leading to serious front-burner issues now in discussion, such as:

- National corruption and economic slavery – a pitiable and pathetic condition where very few people are menacingly and heartlessly wealthy, while over 75% of the nation’s population live on less than 1 US dollar a day.  

- A more thorny and worrisome problem that is devastating the families and destroying the social fabric concerns human trafficking, a modern-day slavery.

- Youth involvement in anti-social activities – leading to serious security breaches in the nation.

To commemorate the UN Day of Slavery, therefore, UPF-Nigeria invited stakeholders including the Ministry of Justice, whose official in the person of Barrister Gabriel A. Fan (an Ambassador for Peace) chaired the discussion. Others present were representatives from the Nigeria Customs Services, Nigeria Immigration Service, and representatives from the Presidency – National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NGOs and civil society organizations, the media, and officials from the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Alh. Umar Abdullahi Tata and his entourage. There were a number of traditional and community leaders who also participated.

The discussion started with the presentation of the UN Secretary-General’s address followed by a message by UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon entitled “Everything We Own Is Borrowed from Heaven,” emphasizing selfless living, service to others, and living for public good as the standard for the realization of a peaceful ideal world.

A very thought-provoking keynote speech, “Remembering the Slavery Victims: Gains and Victories,” which was written by a UPF Ambassador for Peace, Collins Oghasoro, a former Director General of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, was read on his behalf by Ambassador for Peace, King Tom Adie, the President of the OBBUTIV Peace and National Reconciliation Organization. Apart from the keynote presentation, lectures on other important topics discussed were:

“Slavery and the Blackman: A Providential Historical View,” presented by Rev. George M. Ogurie, Vice President of Family Federation of Nigeria. Ogurie reiterated that God in His original ideal of creation envisaged the world as a global family of humankind and that in an ideal family no child is a slave to others. The parents love their children equally; they do not see some as inferior and others superior.  

“National Corruption and Economic Slavery: A Burden for the Future Generation,” presented by Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, Chairman of the Blessed Family Association and International Coordinator of the Global Education for All Initiative.

“Human Trafficking: A Modern Day Slavery,” presented by a senior official from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons, Mrs. Ebele Ulasi, who represented the Executive Secretary of the Agency. Her presentation was an eye opener to the more than 120 participants in the event. Many expressed shock and dismay.

Listening to the lecture on human trafficking, factually presented by Mrs. Ulasi, with her expertise and in-depth knowledge of the problem, revealed and exposed the global criminal practice in the “business” of human trafficking and related matters. Mrs. Ulasi’s presentation makes UPF's ongoing call for the restoration of families and education on true family values more than needed now. True stories of how parents send their children (specifically daughters) into prostitution outside and within the country, how in some areas the husbands negotiate and agree with their wives going out of the country (to Europe) to engage in prostitution in order to bring money home, laden with the tales of incredible suffering and deaths of the girls were all heart-wrenching. It was very hard to believe, yet these were all true accounts.

Panel and general discussion

NAPTIP’s presentation exposed the global criminal activity of human trafficking. It is not just, as had been thought previously, a ‘Nigerian affair.’ It is a global menace. The panel and general discussions on slavery particularly human trafficking issue were very lively, educational, and enlightening. The movement of persons across borders and the general activity of traffickers and their wares across national borders elicited heated debate and arguments, especially as it involves emigration and migration of persons related to the human trafficking “business.”

For many participants it was revealing to learn (according to Immigration Officers speaking in defense of their position), that currently, there are officially 147 manned border crossings known to Immigration and some members of the public, while there are over 1,000 porous, illegal, and seemingly free, unmanned crossings where illegal cross-border transactions and trafficking are going on.

The participants also learned that human trafficking business is a multi-billion dollar business.

Some of the participants were very pained and sobbing as they listened to the heart-wrenching stories of unimaginable pain, suffering, and death the victims have gone through.

Observation

From the experiences of the above-mentioned roundtable discussions, UPF-Nigeria realizes that the UN faces great challenges in dealing with the issue of human trafficking, forced prostitution, and dehumanization of the victims when resisting their “masters” and custodians humiliating demands.

From all indications, it was clear that many people and organizations are not aware of the terrible world of the human trafficking activities and the victims’ experiences.

It was also observed that many countries, especially in the sub-Saharan region, don’t view this problem and its inevitable consequences.

UPF observed, further, following the fears expressed by conference participants that trafficking in persons poses a great, if not the worst, threat to human freedom and the fundamental rights of human beings. Commercialization of the value of human beings is becoming universally acceptable. Unless the UN takes drastic and punitive steps against it, the trade in persons will soon become universally institutionalized and normalized.

Recommendations

UPF with its vision for an ideal future must seriously engage the world's apex body to seriously consider the future of the world from the viewpoint of the family.

The Ambassadors for Peace, representatives of governmental and non-governmental agencies, and the other participants in the event felt that the UN does not seem to have a clear standard of human value. They recommend that the UN include true family values as part of its education and awareness programs in order to protect the foundation of human life and existence, the family.

It was noted that for the UN to set policies and make declarations and pronouncements is not enough; the declared policies need to be implemented.

Conference sponsorship

The following distinguished people and Ambassadors for Peace contributed financial support:

- Mr. Owupele Orupabo
- Emeka Ilobi, Head of Ambassadors for Peace

Links to presentations

“Human Trafficking: A Modern Day Slavery,” by Mrs. Ulasi Ebele, National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters, Abuja, Nigeria
"National Corruption and Economic Slavery: A Burden for the Future Generation - The Issues and Way Forward," by Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, International Coordinator, Global Educators for All Initiative, Nigeria  

 

 

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