Youth Rise International (YoRI), a Non-Governmental Organisation with a focus on empowering the poor and socially excluded, has called on African governments to put in place radical poverty eradication policies and programmes.
That, the NGO said, was the most critical and sustainable approach to ending human trafficking in Africa.
It noted that poverty was the root cause of human trafficking in Africa and stressed the urgent need to put in place strategic economic empowerment and social protection interventions to end poverty on the Continent.
A statement issued and signed by Mr David Awusi, the Executive Director of Youth Rise International, in commemoration of the celebration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, said: “Globally, over 700 million people worldwide are currently estimated to be living in extreme poverty with over 70% of global poverty in African countries.”
“COVID-19 is expected to add as many as 150 million persons to the extreme poor by 2021 (World Bank, 2020), sadly, there is evidence of a strong positive relationship between extreme poverty and human trafficking and will not end without an end to extreme poverty”.
The statement called on African governments to put in place practical social protection policies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and businesses.
Additionally, existing social protection and cash transfer programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty needed to be expanded to include families in rural areas such as farmers, fisherfolk, single mothers and widows.
“Youth Rise International has the firm belief that through such actions, as a Continent, we shall be contributing to ending forced labour by 2025 as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, the statement said.
“Women, men, boys and girls have the basic needs – for food, shelter, and clothing among others. And it will surely require money to provide them.”
“If they do not have money to provide these due to job losses and business failures exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, then when a trafficker comes over with meagre money to the parents promising their children job opportunities in the city or abroad, they will surely accept,” it added.