The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has cautioned Nigerians to desist from all forms of negative use of social media.
The Director-General of the agency, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, gave the caution at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
The event was organized to mark the 2022 World Day Against Human Trafficking.
At the event, the NAPTIP director general particularly, accused human traffickers of using social media to lure Nigerians and thereafter became victims of human trafficking.
Waziri-Azi noted that Nigerians were invited by these traffickers to so many illegal activities online; in the name of getting them greener pastures.
She said that there were so many non-existent activities among these traffickers; but reiterated that they used such to lure their victims.
According to her, the theme for the year “Use and Abuse of Technology’’, both on the negative and positive side must be checkmated in order not to allow the negative to overshadow the positive.
The NAPTIP DG said the United Nations chose the theme to focus on the role of technology as a tool to impede human trafficking.
“This theme is timely. It could not have come at a better time; considering the fact that human traffickers now operate online as much as they operate offline.
“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is the re-enforcement of the need for the digital channel of communication which has led to a massive digital transformation.
“The fact remains, while technology has come as a great relief and a major boost in the way of life of people; the same has left much to be concerned because human traffickers have also caught on to this digital transformation.
“There is a shift from physical recruitment to virtual recruitment through virtual assessment of victims and proxy negotiations,’’ she stressed.
She disclosed that the internet had provided access to a larger pool of potential victims; while attributing this development to the reality that geographical limitations no longer existed.
”This, thereby, increased the ease with which traffickers could locate and recruit their victims; control and organize transportation for them.”
Waziri-Azi commended all partners against human trafficking who had given their support to the agency; both in the past and in the present; saying that they had continued to show remarkable interest in the cause to fight the menace of human trafficking.