As nations mark the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons today, airlines and airports around the globe have reiterated their commitment to check the development.
The Airports Council International (ACI), World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday renewed their pledge to jointly combat the menace.Aviation connects the world, carrying more than four billion passengers yearly, but this global network is also used nefariously by traffickers to transport people against their wish.
Nigeria has also had its fair share of the nefarious activities, with two foiled cases recently reported within a week. The first was a three-month-old baby allegedly trafficked to Accra, Ghana aboard Air Peace airline. The plot was scuttled by the crew who reported the incident to appropriate authorities.The second was another attempt to traffic nine under-aged children to Russia via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. Both cases are still being investigated in Ghana and Nigeria.IATA has, however, disclosed that 24.9 million people are illegally trafficked yearly and live in conditions of modern slavery.
The airlines and airports pledged to assist authorities by reporting suspected human trafficking cases as well as making it difficult for the global air transport network to be exploited for the evil trade.The industry, thus, renewed its commitment to raising awareness and helping to train staff to recognise the signs of trafficking, and putting in place, reporting protocols to alert the concerned authorities.
Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Human trafficking creates misery for millions, and helps fund criminal gangs and terrorism.
“However, aviation is the business of freedom. And we are taking action to help authorities ensure that our global network is not exploited for evil ends. As an industry, we have our eyes open, and are working with governments and law enforcement to stop trafficking. Through a joint campaign with our airport colleagues, we hope to further mobilise the aviation industry in the fight against this abhorrent trade in people’s lives.”