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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.

READ  30 trafficked Nigerians due home from Lebanon August 12, 16 - NAPTIP DG

“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.

READ  Concern over worrisome trend of trafficking Nigerian ladies for domestic work, sexual pleasure 

“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.

READ  Concern over endless abuse of foreign housemaids in Oman

 

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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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  Concern over worrisome trend of trafficking Nigerian ladies for domestic work, sexual pleasure 

“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  Nigerian migrants’ sojourn in Middle East ends in woes

“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  Again, Nigeria denies deportation of nationals from Germany

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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  Nigerian migrant decries  ‘unjust ‘deportation from Cape Verde

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  Nigerian governor resettles over 1,000 IDPs after attack on his convoy

“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  Emirates Airlines to fly NIgerians abroad back home

“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  Dilemma of Nigerian migrants: Stranded citizens cry to return home as  returnees plan traveling back

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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