The Migrant Project (TMP) Nigeria has warned Nigerians to be conscious of the activities of human traffickers who operate online via social media, mobile apps and other online platforms.
The advice was given in a press statement signed by Tayo Elegbede, Media Lead of The Migrant Project.
He noted that human traffickers whose interest is to exploit women, men and children through forced labour and commercial sex, now recruit unsuspecting persons online, most often via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Dating Sites, amongst others.
“We have noticed a disturbing rise in the modus operandi of human traffickers. They now recruit, groom and control their victims online, riding on the possibilities of digital anonymity which makes it easier and cheaper for them to reach and recruit their victims online,” said Elegbede.
He noted that predators pose online either as travel agents with enticing deals, recruitment agencies with job offers or as lovers via dating sites and social media platforms who would build trust before unleashing their inhumane intent.
There has been a rise in the number of Nigerians trafficked in and out of the country, many of whom recently returned from middle east countries like Lebanon and Oman.
According to him, the Traffickers conduct their nefarious activities in structured sequences by establishing Facebook and Instagram accounts, WhatsApp groups, fake business names and addresses to lure unsuspecting victims, Elegbede said.
“Traffickers are capitalising on the growing desperation of many Nigerians to migrate abroad at all costs. They identify vulnerable persons with low self-esteem, ignorance and displayed an interest in migrating, then reach out to them with deceptive offers. This is always the case of supply meeting demand, however, it often turns out to be sour too fast,”
The group cautioned Nigerians to be careful and report online content, personality or organisation with suspecting offers, promises and operations lacking clarity and credibility, to avoid being a victim of human trafficking. TMP also charged social media sites to improve their community control policies to downplay contents and sanction organisations involved in human trafficking.