The Federal Government has called for collective effort of all stakeholders to tackle the menace of forced labour and human trafficking, in order to achieve sustainable growth and development.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated this in Abuja at the launch of Alliance 8.7 and National Consultation in Nigeria.

According to Osinbajo, “No government, country or organisation can solve this challenge alone and eradication efforts can only be accelerated through concrete commitments, coherent and coordinated action at the national, regional and global levels.”

The Vice President, represented by the Minister of State, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, disclosed that “Alliance 8.7 is a global partnership committed to taking immediate and effective measures to accelerate action towards the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking, and securing the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour in all its forms everywhere.”

Speaking further, Osinbajo said, “International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates the global figure of child labourers to be 168 million with Nigeria accounting for about 15 million; and 25 percent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of 14 are engaged in economic activities and half of this population is children exploited as child labourers and those working in hazardous situations such as victims of child trafficking, domestic work, sex work, drug peddling and hawking.”

He, however, noted that Government has been giving attention to child labour, forced labour and human trafficking issues in the country through existing national laws, ratification/adoption of International Conventions and Protocols, as well as National Policy Documents on child labour.

In the same vein, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, William Alo, said the occasion marked a milestone in the determination and commitment of Nigeria in ensuring that further concrete measures were taken to accelerate the efforts at eradicating this menace in the country, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8.7.”

According to the Minister, “Addressing issues of child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking is key to achieving the SDGs relating to the Ministry’s mandate, and the launch of Alliance 8.7 and National Consultation is critical to the Ministry as it is committed to ensuring decent work, as well as quality education for children, and removing them from all forms of child labour.”

Earlier, in good will messages, the Country Director of the ILO, Dr. Dennis Zulu, and International Relations Officer, Africa Division, Office of Child Labour, Forced Labour, and Human Trafficking, Honore Tchou, congratulated the Government of Nigeria for being a leader in the global campaign to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery and the worst form of child labour.

They said that the establishment of the Alliance 8.7 would be beneficial at the National, State, Local Government and Community levels to strengthen their efforts in the fight against child labour and trafficking, noting that it would also help to share experience that could foster significant progress and generate positive results in the fight against the scourge.

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