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World Day Against Trafficking in Person: Edo reels gains of reforms to end human trafficking, illegal migration, assures sustainability

29 Jul 2023

Volunteers and officials of the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT), during a sensitization rally in Benin City.

…receives 5,515 returnees, secures seven convictions

The Edo State Government has reeled out the impact of reforms and programmes by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to tackle the menace of human trafficking and illegal migration over the past six years, reassuring that the government will continue to strengthen the legal framework and institutions to stamp out the scourge in the state.

The Executive Secretary of the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT), Itohan Okungbowa Esq., disclosed this at a press briefing to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Person, celebrated yearly by the United Nations and its sister agencies.

With the theme “Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind,” World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2023 aims to raise awareness of disturbing developments and trends identified by the latest UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, and call on governments, law enforcement, public services, and civil society to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end impunity. 

Okungbowa explained that the task force was set up to drastically curb the incidence of human trafficking and irregular migration in the state, and work with stakeholders in this regard to redeem the lost glory of the State, noting that the team has made huge progress with the task.

She said, “It is estimated that approximately 1,000,000 persons are trafficked globally and that between 20,000 and 50,000 are trafficked into foreign countries yearly. Under the ETAHT Welcome Programme, we have successfully received and welcomed 5,515 returnees in 79 batches from August 2017 till July 2023.

“ETAHT has secured seven convictions of traffickers, including a traditional practitioner (Native Doctor). The Judiciary dedicated two Special Courts to ensure quick dispensation of human trafficking cases.”

She noted that in compliance with the 2023 theme, the Edo task force has collaborated with different associations working against child, sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria, religious and traditional leaders, as well as civil society organizations and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to tackle the scourge at all levels.

Okungbowa continued: “The Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking is in partnership with some stakeholders to create awareness against the ills of human trafficking and illegal migration, and also bring to the public the efforts the state government is making and other alternatives created.

“The economic factor has in a long way projected human trafficking and with this, the state government has approached the tackling of human trafficking from diverse dimensions. Also, the programme, Managing Migration through Development 2.0, is part of the government’s pillar and programme to tackle the menace and eradicate human trafficking, providing a better alternative for the citizens to live right.”

According to her, “The instability of the economy has driven the government to approach managing migration through development by creating viable community projects that would attract potential migrants and returned victims and the entire society. Research done so far has shown that another factor of human trafficking is little education to those who were deceived and this led to much attention of the government on education.

“More so, there are other alternatives set by the government to all citizens in different parts of Edo State like skill acquisition. These are skill centres anyone can access free of charge. Human trafficking is an inclusive challenge which the government cannot fight alone but with a holistic approach, and by spreading our tentacles to schools, churches, mosques, the menace can be curbed.”

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