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Nigerian girl held captive in Lebanon cries for help

  • Victim laments boss” sexual harassment
Omotola's boss

Omolola’s boss in Lebanon (inset is Omotola co founder of PROJECTFERRY

A Nigerian lady, Ajayi Omolola, is in a very right corner in Lebanon and requires urgent assistance to come out alive.

The 23-year-old single mother in an SOS video she posted online seeking assistance, said she was taken to Lebanon with the promise that she was going to work as an English Language teacher. But on getting there, she was sold into slavery and daily subjected to all manner of inhuman treatment.

In the less than four minutes video, Omolola began her plea with a brief introduction of herself and family in Yoruba Language, spoken in the South West Nigeria. “Good afternoon ma and sir. My name is Ajayi Omolola. I am from Osun State. I am 23 years old. I am a single mother. My mother’s name is Ajayi Felicia while my dad’s name is Ajayi Kehinde.

“I am in Lebanon right now. My parents are living in Ilorin around Offa Garage. A family friend connected me to the white man who brought me to Lebanon.”

Sobbing and crying for help, she said: “They told me that I was coming to Lebanon in to teach English Language. But it was all a lie. When I got here, they collected my passport and kept it. When they did this, I wondered why they did that. I never knew they sold me into slavery.

READ  Early morning fire disaster kills 14, destroys 250 shelters in IDP camp

“What I am facing here is indescribable. I am just praying that I should not die in this process.

“They don’t take us to hospital whenever we are sick. The only medication they give us is panadol. Half of the people who came here with us half died.

 

“I am begging Feminique Life Support to save me so that I will also not die here. They should help me to return back to Nigeria.”

*Daily battle with sexual harassment*


Following the helpless condition she has found herself, Omolola, relives her daily struggle of how her boss constantly tries to rape her.

“The person I am staying with often wants to rape me but I have been resisting him. He has seized my phone and threatened that he will not give it back to me if i don’t allow him to have sex with me. It is only when he is sleeping of has gone out that I secretly use the phone. Whenever he want to rape me,

“I always push him away. I am scared that he could slump in the process and die. If that happens, the authorities will kill me.”

READ  COVID 19: 15, 300 Ethiopian migrants return home

*Agency abandons victim*
Desperate to wriggle out of danger starring her in the face, Omolola said she reached out to the agency that handled her traveling but met with a brick wall.
“I called my agency but they blocked me. I then told my boss that I was working for that I wanted to go back home but he vehemently refused, saying that he had paid the agency for everything about me.

“He said he owns me both in life and in death. When he said that, I exclaimed and became very worried about my three-year-old baby who I left back in Nigeria. Please Family Life Support help me. Help me to live and nurture my child. Don’t let them throw my parents into mourning.”

She hinted that the other person working together with her in the house just travelled, and frighteningly said: “Now that I will be left with this man (my boss) I don’t know what would happen.
I sleep in the siting room on bare floor in a very cold weather condition. They didn’t even give me good clothe to wear. It is rags that I am always given to wear.

 

“Please don’t let me die here. I am really suffering a great deal here. Unfortunately for me, my daughter has not known me. It is teaching that I was brought here to come and do but it is another thing entirely that I am doing here.”
*Government official , agency wade in*

READ  Pope defends migrants, calls for peace in Christmas message

When the attention of Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari was drawn to the victim’s plight, she said: ”
“It’s a trafficking matter which I have forwarded to the DG of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP”
NAPTIP in a message shared on Journalist International Forum for Migration (JIFORM) said: “NAPTIP is already working on this. Investigations are on going and we are working with NSCDC on a lead presently related to this in Illorin.”

 

 

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Netherlands, IOM launch Global Migration Initiative to protect people on the move

COMPASS will provide vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children access to a broad range of protection and assistance services.

 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands launched the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions initiative (COMPASS) at the beginning of 2021. COMPASS is a global initiative, in partnership with 12 countries, designed to protect people on the move, combat human trafficking and smuggling, and support dignified return while promoting sustainable reintegration.

The initiative is centred on a whole-of-society approach which, in addition to assisting individuals, will work across all levels – households, communities, and the wider communities – and encompasses the following partner countries: Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

“We want to mobilize families, peers and communities to encourage informed and safe migration decisions, protect migrants, and help those returning home reintegrate successfully,” said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department of Migration Management at IOM.

READ  Enslaved in holy land: 138 trafficked Nigerian ladies seek return from S'Arabia

“One key component is also undermining the trafficking and smuggling business models through the promotion of safe alternatives and information sharing to reduce the risks of exploitation and abuse by these criminal networks.” Vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children, will have access to a broad range of protection and assistance services such as mental health and psychosocial support, while migrants in transit who wish to return home will be supported with dignified return and reintegration.

Community level interventions will focus on improving community-led efforts to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and support sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. COMPASS will work with national and local governments to enable a conducive environment for migrant protection, migration management and international cooperation on these issues.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to launch the COMPASS programme in cooperation with IOM, an important and longstanding partner on migration cooperation,” said Marriët Schuurman, Director for Stability and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

READ  NIgeria flays insugents' attack on UN humanitarian helicopter

“The programme is a part of the Dutch comprehensive approach to migration with activities that contribute to protection and decreasing irregular migration. Research and data gathering are also important components, and we hope that the insights that will be gained under COMPASS will contribute to broader knowledge sharing on migration and better-informed migration policies.”, added Schuurman. The initiative has a strong learning component, designed to increase knowledge and the uptake of lessons learned, both within the programme and beyond its parameters. COMPASS will actively contribute to global knowledge that supports countries in managing migration flows and protecting vulnerable migrants such as victims of trafficking. The implementation of COMPASS is set to start soon.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, as the donor to the COMPASS initiative, pledges its active support to partner countries to improve migration cooperation mechanisms within its long-term vision. 

IOM, the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, contributes its expertise as the technical implementation partner to the initiative. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners in its dedication to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. 

READ  COVID-19 Compounds Families’ Painful Search for Missing and Disappeared Migrants

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A child, 40 others drown in shipwreck off Tunisia

Photo: Mediterranean Sea

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Sidi Mansour, in southeast Tunisia, yesterday evening. The bodies of 41 people, including at least one child, have so far been retrieved.

According to reports from local UNHCR and IOM teams, three survivors were rescued by the Tunisian National Coast Guard. The search effort was still underway on Friday. Based on initial information, all those who perished were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

This tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to enhance and expand State-led search and rescue operations across the Central Mediterranean, where some 290 people have lost their lives so far this year. Solidarity across the region and support to national authorities in their efforts to prevent loss of life and prosecute smugglers and traffickers should be a priority.

Prior to yesterday’s incident, 39 refugees and migrants had perished off the coast near the Tunisian city of Sfax in early March. So far this year, sea departures from Tunisia to Europe have more than tripled compared to the same period in 2020.

READ  NIgeria flays insugents' attack on UN humanitarian helicopter

UNHCR and IOM continue to monitor developments closely. They continue to stand ready to work with the national authorities to assist and support the survivors, and the family members of those lost.

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Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

Yemen: Stranded Ethiopian migrants prepare to board an IOM-facilitated flight from Aden, Yemen, to fly home to Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM/Majed Mohammed 2021

One hundred and sixty Ethiopian migrants have returned home safely from Yemen today with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), just one day after a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden claimed the lives of dozens of people, including at least 16 children.

More than 32,000 migrants, predominantly from Ethiopia, remain stranded across Yemen in dire, often deadly, circumstances.

“The conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen has become so tragic that many feel they have no option but to rely on smugglers to return home,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Director for Operations and Emergencies.

At least 42 people returning from Yemen are believed to have died on Monday when their vessel sank off the coast of Djibouti. Last month, at least 20 people had also drowned on the same route according to survivors. IOM believes that, since May 2020, over 11,000 migrants have returned to the Horn of Africa on dangerous boat journeys, aided by unscrupulous smugglers.

READ  30 migrants killed in Libya

“Our Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme provides a lifeline for those stranded in a country now experiencing its seventh year of conflict and crisis. We call on all governments along the route to come together and support our efforts to allow migrants safe and dignified opportunities to travel home,” added Labovitz.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on global migration. The route from the Horn of Africa to Gulf countries has been particularly affected. Tens of thousands of migrants, hoping to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), now find themselves unable to complete their journeys, stranded across Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

While the pandemic has also caused the number of migrants arriving to Yemen to decrease from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020, the risks they face continue to rise. Many of these migrants are stranded in precarious situations, sleeping rough without shelter or access to services. Many others are in detention or being held by smugglers.

READ  Women struggle to get by as Yemen conflict hits six-year mark

“We cannot find jobs or food here; Yemen is a problem for us,” said Gamal, a 22-year-old migrant returning on the VHR flight. “I used to sleep in the street on cardboard. I could only eat because of the charity people would give me and sometimes we were given leftovers from restaurants. I never had much to eat.”

Since October 2020, in Aden alone, IOM has registered over 6,000 migrants who need support to safely return home. Today’s flight to Addis Ababa was the second transporting an initial group of 1,100 Ethiopians who have been approved for VHR to Ethiopia. Thousands of other undocumented migrants are waiting for their nationality to be verified and travel documents to be provided.

Prior to departure on the VHR flight, IOM carried out medical and protection screenings to ensure that returnees are fit to travel and are voluntarily consenting to return. Those with special needs are identified and receive specialized counselling and support.

In Ethiopia, IOM supports government-run COVID-19 quarantine facilities to accommodate the returnees on arrival and provides cash assistance, essential items and onward transportation to their homes. The Organization also supports family tracing for unaccompanied migrant children.

READ  Many Ethiopians seeking jobs in S’Arabia unaware of Yemen's degree of conflict

Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen, IOM provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food, water and other vital assistance.

Today’s flight was funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by EU Humanitarian Aid and PRM.

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