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Trafficked Nigerian girl  relives sexual harassment, slavery experience in Oman

A young Nigerian lady who gave her name simply as Adetomisin has relived how she was always harassed sexually and treated as a slave by her masters in Oman.

Adetomisin, a native of Ondo State, South West,  Nigeria,  in  a video that went viral online, said her agreement with the agent  was  that he would take her to the United States of America to get a good job but the trafficker ended up selling her off to Oman, where she is presently stuck and regretting.

The embattled lady recounted her ordeal in Yoruba Language for reasons best known to  her but we have transcribed it for the benefit of people who do not understand the language.

Her words: “Good evening children of Nigeria. My name is Adetomisin. I am a Nigerian from Ondo State. I am speaking to you from Oman right now.  When I was leaving Nigeria, it was USA that my agent and I agreed that I will travel to, to go and work.  When I completed my NCE programme, didn’t  get a job and saw the situation of things that I decided to travel. My agent promised to help me to secure a job in the USA. All of a sudden, everything changed and I was taken to Oman together with one other lady. When we got to the airport at Oman, two people came to pick us. They took us to one office where they took our passports and our phones.

“After that they drove us to where we would be working. When we got there, my boss started frustrating my life. For the first four months that worked for him, he didn’t pay me any salary nor any allowance. When I called my agent, he said  he had played his part and that there was nothing more he could do.

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“Since then, my agent has refused to answer my calls. Then, my boss started threatening to have sexual relationship with me but I refused. I work from 4am till 12 or 1 am every day. He started threatening to kill me if I would not do what he wanted me  to do. I told him I wasn’t going to work again and that I should be returned to my country. They later took me back to the office where I was taken to on arrival. When we got there, they started shouting at us and thereafter locked us up in a room for a whole week without food or water.”

During the horrific one week detention, Adetomisin said: “Most of us drank water from the toilet for that whole week  before they took us out again to go and work.  I have spent one year and two months in the new place and I have told my boss that I am sick and that I should be allowed to return to my country but he said no, that he would not allow me to go.

“Nigerians please help me, I want to return home …(sobbing). I am sick o,  and my boss said I cannot come back home. My number is 96892544763.”

 

We’ve found Adetomisin- Omotola Fawunmi RAIS co-founder

Co-founder of Returning Africans in Slavery (Project Ferry) Omotola Fawunmi, says Adetomisin  has been found in a tiny city, which is six hours away from Oman’s capital, Muscat.

She said: “We saw her video online weeks ago and decided to investigate as with many others that we put up for help on our end.

“From the video we learnt she was in Oman and her story was compelling, clearly a case of fraudulent recruitment.

“We reached out to our network of associates who found us an on-ground Omani contact. The contact called the number she mentioned in her video and gathered that she was desperately desiring to escape.

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“She is not home yet because she is 6 hours outside Muscat where our Oman contact lives. We are hoping once the lockdown ends, we would be able to get her back home.”

 

She added: “This is the fate of a lot of young girls in Nigeria. There is usually a Nigerian agent and a destination country agent. Both pose as recruiting or travel agencies.

“The Nigeria agent sources the girls with a promise of jobs in a foreign country, you hear things like ‘he told me I would work in an office’.

“The office is in fact the destination countries agents’ office who is just a receiver and logistics coordinator to receive the girls for onward sales to a predetermined buyer who has paid $5000-$10000 for a girl to serve as his domestic slave.

“The girl is unaware she is being sold. She arrives the destination country supposedly to work but is then handed over to a master she is not aware of. Often this master pays $150-200/month and a percentage of this is demanded by the Nigerian agents.”

RAIS has been involved in the rescue of these girls since 2019 and in partnership with government institutions like the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and the Diaspora Commission, have helped 51 girls return to Nigeria from Oman, Lebanon and Cote d’Ivoire.

According to her, they have helped 25 girls escape slave masters in Lebanon. “They are currently in our care till borders open again,” she said, “once borders open we can negotiate their safe return.”

“We have over 100 still with Slave Masters in Lebanon, over 150 in Oman and 300 in Cotedivoire and our team remain committed despite the daunting task. We all work remotely in different parts of the world because one of our teammates was killed in January while tracking a Nigerian agent” she disclosed.

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We are working towards her safe return- NAPTIP

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), via its twitter handle says it is working towards the safe return of Adetomisin. The tweet reads: RE ADETULA OLUWATOSIN ITUNUOLUWA TRAFFICKED TO OMAN

@DGNaptip appreciates the concerns of partners and stakeholders on the plight of the above said lady trafficked to Oman.

“The Agency in its’ usual manner is working assiduously through intelligence gathering and partnership with stakeholders in the destination country with a view to ensuring her safe return to Nigeria.

“At the moment, she is out of the reach of her traffickers and currently taking shelter in a safe location. In the same vein, the Agency is frantically making efforts to bring her back home and also prosecute her traffickers.”

 

 

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UNHCR and IOM shocked and dismayed by deaths near Belarus-Poland border

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and are deeply saddened by the deaths of four individuals near the border between Poland and Belarus. The organizations express their condolences to the families of the deceased and are calling for an immediate investigation into this tragedy. The nationalities of the all the victims have yet to be confirmed but two Iraqi nationals reportedly died of hypothermia.

In recent months, groups of asylum-seekers and migrants have been transiting through Belarus, to seek asylum in neighbouring EU Member States – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

The two agencies have been following with growing concern, reports of pushbacks of people at these borders. Groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services. Many were left in dire situations, exposed to the elements, suffering from hypothermia. Some were rescued from swamps.

READ  Hundreds of Nigerians perishing in Sahara Desert, NAPTIP DG cries out

Recognizing the significant challenges posed by irregular movements, the agencies have called for the situation to be managed in accordance with international legal obligations, and for States to work collaboratively to resolve the situation, prioritising human rights.

UNHCR and IOM call for immediate access to those affected, in order to provide lifesaving medical help, food, water and shelter, especially in light of the approaching winter.

While States have the sovereign right to manage their borders, this is not incompatible with the respect for human rights including the right to seek asylum. Pushbacks endanger lives and are illegal under international law.

UNHCR and IOM have been engaging with relevant authorities to explore various options for the people who continue to be stranded at borders; from access to asylum, family reunification procedures, and voluntary return for those found not to be in need of international protection.

IOM and UNHCR reiterate that asylum-seekers and migrants should never be used by States to achieve political ends. The fundamental responsibility to protect vulnerable people should be shared among States in a spirit of solidarity. Political disagreement on responsibilities must never result in the loss of life, forfeiting States international obligations and commitments.

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UNHCR calls on Libya to urgently develop plan for asylum seekers and refugees, welcomes authorization to restart evacuation

Libya. UNHCR provides assistance to asylum-seekers caught in crackdown

A refugee feeds her baby while waiting to receive assistance at an emergency distribution by UNHCR and partners in Tripoli, Libya.  © UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today urged the Libyan government to immediately address the dire situation of asylumseekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner. Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely  populated by refugees and asylumseekers that resulted in several deaths, thousands detained, and many homeless and destitute.

“Since the start of the security raids and arrests by the Libyan authorities in October, we have witnessed a sharp deterioration in the situation facing vulnerable asylumseekers and refugees in Tripoli,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean Situation. “The Libyan authorities must come up with a proper plan that respects their rights and identifies durable solutions.”

Some 3,000 people are currently sheltering outside the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli, where UNHCR and its partners have been providing medical assistance and other services. Their situation is very precarious. Many were affected by the raids, demolition of their homes, and have escaped from detention in terrible conditions. Others have joined the group hoping to be evacuated.

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“Many have been left homeless and lost all their belongings as a result of the security operation and are now sleeping in the cold and in a very unsafe environment. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Cochetel.

UNHCR and partners had to suspend operations at the Community Day Centre for security and safety reasons, but remain engaged in an active dialogue with representatives of the protesters outside the CDC to explain the limited assistance it can offer, including cash and food assistance.

Together with other UN agencies, UNHCR stands ready to support an urgent plan of action that could help alleviate the terrible suffering of asylumseekers and refugees in Libya. 

UNHCR continues to call on the authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of asylumseekers and refugees, stop their arbitrary arrest and release them from detention. 

The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed authorization to restart humanitarian evacuation flights, but warns that it is not enough. 

“This is a positive development for some of the most vulnerable refugees, who have been waiting anxiously for many months to depart. Our teams are already working to ensure humanitarian flights can restart as soon as possible,” said Cochetel “But we also need to be realistic: resettlement or evacuation flights will only benefit a limited number of people.”    

More than 1,000 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers are currently prioritised for humanitarian flights and awaiting their resumption. UNHCR continues to urge the international community to offer more legal pathways to safety outside Libya.

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Free movement of people a top priority, say West African nations

Aligned migration policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons, says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Photo: Fredrick Ejiga/IOM

Abuja – Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union.

Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

Integrated migration governance should be a key goal and Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior for Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments, said it was essential African nations addressed trafficking in persons and its devastating consequences on migrants.

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“Vile stories on international media concerning migrant slavery, as well as mistreatment of young African domestic helps in some Gulf States, call for a reflection on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this persistent problem that leads to the loss of young Africans, without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Dery said. “In Ghana, the contribution of migrants has played a great role in shaping our national development.”

Governments must address the root causes of trafficking and ensure the free movement of people in a safe, orderly and dignified manner. ECOWAS representatives emphasized the need to join forces and align approaches to prevent and counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to promote rights-based management of migration.

The meeting, which ended Thursday, also heard that policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons.

Aissata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub Saharan Africa, said the Global Compact for Migration was a landmark, multilateral document. “It aims to catalyze and boost combined support and assistance for addressing legal and humanitarian challenges of migration and foster its positive social, cultural and economic dividends within and outside the ECOWAS region.”

READ  Uganda lifts COVID-19 closure admits refugees escaping escalating violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

IOM has been working with all stakeholders at intergovernmental and national levels, as well as within the UN Network for Migration, to promote safe, orderly and dignified free movement of people and economic exchange among ECOWAS Member States.

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