CLEEN Foundation Holds Town Hall Meeting In Ikpoba-Okha

…Identify Factors Responsible for Human Trafficking, Forced Migration

BENIN CITY – The CLEEN Foundation, a Non-Governmental and profit Organisation (NGO), Weekend, held a one-day Town Hall Meeting in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State on the need to raise awareness on Human Trafficking and Forced Migration particularly in the state.

The Meeting which was christened “Community Awareness: Panacea To Ending Trafficking Of Women and Girls’ was also aimed to seek possible solutions towards mitigating the trend of human trafficking cum forced migration in the state.

In his welcome address, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Benson Olugbuo, said in response to the worrisome rates of the trafficking of women and girls as well as the harsh realities the victims were subjected to during their journey abroad, the foundation in June, 2020 launched “preventing forced migration and trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria: Building resilience, promte sustainable development project”

Olugbuo, who was represented at the event by the foundation’s Program Manager, Ruth Olofin disclosed that the project supported by the Italian Government through ‘UNWOMEN’, is aimed at identifying gaps, challenges and priority for future policy and programming towards increasing gender-sensitive information and awareness-raising in Nigeria on Human Trafficking and Forced Migration.

“Since inception, the project has been engaging actively with National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other relevant stakeholders to foster more gender responsive law enforcement interventions and policy responsible frameworks.

“The project has undertaken ground-breaking gender audit exercise in States of protection services in existing trafficking shelters and safe homes offered by front-line service providers and presentations of the report”, Olofin stated.

In his remark, the NATIP Benin Zonal Commander, represented by Nduka Nwanwene, commended CLEEN Foundation for the event, and called for collective efforts in tackling human trafficking and forced migration.

“Everybody in the society must be involved in the right against humanity Trafficking and Forced Migration in the country. It affects everybody, so government agencies, departments, and ministries should also be involved”, he said.

Delivering his lecture on the topic, “Root causes of Human Trafficking, Forced Labour and Sexual Exploitation in Urban And Rural Communities In Edo State”, Dr. Eddy Akpomera, said some Nigerians are serving as domestic servants in the middle East, noting that trafficking in person also occurred locally and have various dimensions.

He said that trafficking which he described as the “act of eating our seed yams before planting season, mainly affects women and girls, adding that the trigger of human trafficking and forced migration is based on demand and supply.

Dr. Akpomera identified Feminisation of labour; parents ego; traffickers business interest driven by deception; social status competition; lucrative sex Industry in Europe, pressure in polygamous homes, and the legalised prostitution practices in Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso as some of the factors aiding human trafficking and forced migration in the country.

“Government policy is also responsible for human trafficking and forced migration as government policies have failed to address the serious dislocation of socio-economic prospect of the people”, he added.

Others who spoke at the one-day Town Hall Meeting include Dr. Nosa Aladeselu, who spoke on ‘identification, recruitment and exploitation of victims of trafficking by enablers and non-state actors and Mrs. Isi-Meme White, “Community led approach towards curbing the menace of human trafficking in Edo State”

Meanwhile, the need for Governments to make the country economic viable for the people, provision of conducive environment for the people, discouraging push to travel abroad, tight security in the country’s land borders, Re-orientations of parents and improving the Educational system were some solutions offered by stakeholders during the event.