Edo women tackle human trafficking in Benin City, say it must end

The Edo Women’s Development Initiative, EWDI, will unveil programmes and policies aimed at tackling the spectre of human trafficking in persons, especially women and young girls in Edo state, and will reiterate that the spectre of human merchandise is likely going to continue unless and until very concrete steps are taken to stem the trend.

A statement from the EWDI secretariat in Benin City, and signed by its secretary, Dr. Rosaline Osemetiti Okosun, said that because thousands of African women from West Africa are annually trafficked to Western Europe for forced commercial sex work, the EWDI will not rest on its oars until it helps to mitigate the problem.

“Nigeria is said to be the largest single source of trafficked women in Europe and the Middle East, with an estimated 10,000 Nigerian sex workers in Italy, many of them victims of trafficking. What we hope to achieve with our 4th EWDI Conference in Benin is bring relevant stakeholders in government, civil society and religious bodies together to allocate time, resources and energy to first arrest the ugly trend of selling our womanhood abroad. We would then be putting heads together to rejuvenate our cultures, mores and traditions in such a manner as to help with the reorienting of the psyche of our women, mothers and young girls,”Dr. Okusun said.

The 4th EWDI Conference in Benin City, with the theme: ‘Modern Day Slavery, Policies and Programmes to combat/end trafficking in Edo State’, is being convened by Yinka Omorogbe, chairperson, with assistance from its board of trustees. Notable speakers expected at the event will include Dr. Esohe Aghatise, UN Expert on Trafficking in persons, The Rev David Ugolor, the Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, executive director, Florence Nwaoguma, and Nduka Nwakwene together with others.

“Even though statistics from the BBC 2015 data indicate that countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea top the list of migrants in Europe today, most people from these countries migrate because of the scourge of war. The same cannot be said of those migrating from Edo state. To that extent, we have invited international speakers like Christina Albertine of the UNODC, and a delegation from the Swiss Embassy to bring the weight of their professional experiences on human trafficking to bear on the problem of trafficking in women and girls in Edo State and Nigeria’, Dr. Okosun stressed.