Human trafficking from the perspective of international law

Challenges in combating human trafficking and exploitation 
from the perspective of International law 
being a Keynote Address Presented by Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, OON 
at the occasion of the International Conference on Human Trafficking within and from Africa 
co-organized by Caritas Internationalis 
(within the framework of its programme against trafficking CONTENT) 
and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, 
and hosted by Caritas Nigeria  
5-7th September, DRACC, Lugbe, Abuja.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to the organizers of this conference Caritas International and the Nigerian Chapter for this invitation to present a keynote address. I have been asked to speak on “Challenges in combating human trafficking and exploitation from the perspective of international law”. How to strengthen the role of the Christian Churches and other Faith Communities in bringing positive impact on laws, policies and practices in combating human trafficking, with a particular focus on Africa and other regions of transit and destination. My presentation focuses on this assigned task and I have sought to address them through spotlighting cases of human trafficking globally, examining the scale, causes and consequences of human trafficking, including the challenges towards combating this phenomenon; and importantly the legal framework of action to tackle human trafficking at the international and regional levels. I have raised and attempted to answer the following questions namely: What are the international commitments that have been adopted by African countries on the issue? What actions have been taken towards the implementation of these commitments? What are the challenges and constraints? And what role should the Christian Churches and organisations play in combating and preventing human trafficking? 

Spotlighting Cases of Human Trafficking (Sharing some case studies around the world) 

I have listened to the stories of trafficked persons or victims and survivors of human trafficking around the world and it’s always the desire to survive, find a decent livelihood and improve their well-being and that of their families that are at the root of their desire to migrate and the resultant trafficking. 

In my 2013 country mission to Italy I met X, a 21 year old Nigerian girl travelled by plane from Nigeria, transiting through Turkey, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia before arriving in Italy by train. Not only was she trafficked but was held in debt bondage as her father back in Edo Sate had put up his land as collateral for the down-payment of the 60,000 euro fee demanded to bring her to Europe. The young woman was moved from Turin to Milan and Paris to sell her body in order to repay her debt. She was rescued following a random identification check in Italy where she benefits from assistance. However, x has to lie to her parents about her detention as they are asking her to send money to repay the debt to her traffickers. The traffickers have continued to threaten her family back in Nigeria since her disappearance from their radar.’’

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