A group, Migrant Project (TMP), has advised Nigerians to be conscious of the activities of human traffickers operating online via social media, mobile apps and other platforms.
The group’s Media Lead, Mr Tayo Elegbede, said in Lagos on Wednesday that the interest of human traffickers’ was to exploit women, men and children through forced labour and commercial sex.
“They now recruit unsuspecting persons online, most often via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Dating Sites, amongst others.
“We have also noticed a disturbing rise in the modus operandi of human traffickers.
“They now recruit, groom and control victims online, riding on the possibilities of digital anonymity which makes it easier and cheaper to operate,’’ Elegbede said.
He said that the predators were posing online either as travel agents with enticing deals, recruitment agencies with job offers or as lovers.
The media lead said that these atrocities were committed via dating sites and social media platforms by building trust before unleashing their inhumane intent.
Mr. Elegbede said there was rise in the number of Nigerians trafficked in and out of the country, many of whom recently returned from the middle East countries such as Lebanon and Oman.
“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 and 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,” he said.
Mr. Elegbede cautioned Nigerians to be careful and report online content, personality or organisation with suspecting offers, promises and operations lacking clarity and credibility.
According to him, this is to avoid being a victim of human trafficking.
He advised social media sites to improve their community control policies to downplay contents and sanction organisations involved in human trafficking.