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Nigeria commemorates abolition of slave trade, launches “Not for Sale” campaign

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As Nigeria marks International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, President Muhammadu Buhari says the nation’s anti-trafficking agency has rolled out the “Not for Sale” campaign.

The campaign is to protect vulnerable people against the deceptions of human smugglers across the country.

The president stated this in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post to mark the UN declared International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

The UN declared 23 August as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

President Buhari maintained that the “Not for Sale” campaign was also aimed at helping those who “might be vulnerable to false promises see through the ruse and say no.”

The Nigerian leader, who described modern slavery not simply a campaign of hatred, but a means of making cheap money, advocated for the review of anti-slavery laws to make economically unprofitable.

”One distinction from then and now is important: the costs. From records, adjusted for today’s prices, the cost of a human-being-as-property was valued on average at 40 000 dollars,” he said.

“Today, it is just 90 dollars, sometimes even lower. We must remember that slavery is not simply a campaign of hatred; it is the pursuit of profit. One way to extinguish it in its current forms, therefore, is to make it economically unfeasible.

“This means making sure that any anti-slavery laws have bite, come with strong penalties and are enforced.”

According to him, it is also vital to have a robust tip-off and reporting system.

“Where this once meant detecting ships, today the signs are less conspicuous. The public must be shown how to see what is hidden in plain sight, particularly signs of suspicious behaviour.

“This might seem broad. But vagueness should not give rise to reluctance to report anything that could be smuggling or forced servitude.

“If something doesn’t look right, report it, for you could be securing another human’s freedom,” he added.

The president noted that the appearance of modern slavery might have changed, but the institution had not.

He explained that in Africa, its modern forms include debt bondage, the enslavement of war captives, commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic servitude.

“Holding people held against their will, controlling their movements and forcing them to work for the sole profit of others — wherever they are — is slavery today and always.

“Slavery, once again, has become entwined in the global economy — and it is largely unseen. For instance, most of us might know in principle that the mining of cobalt crucial to our smartphones might have used forced labour,” he said.

President Buhari said though there are no radical solutions to modern slavery, however, stressed the need for political will on the parts of world leaders to address the menace.

“But on this, we can learn from the past, the shadows in which modern slavery proliferates today.

“It is not enough to mark this four-hundredth anniversary. We must use it as a platform to eliminate slavery in all its present-day forms.

“We should reflect in memory to find a better future, one that should ensure freedom for all.”

– APA

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