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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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Edo goes after assets, properties of traffickers

 

The Edo State Government plans to go after the assets and properties of persons behind the wanton trafficking of indigenes of the state.

Governor Godwin Obaseki told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that proceeds from such properties would be ploughed into the rehabilitation and reintegration of returnees.

Convicting the perpetrators and liquidating their assets, according to the governor, will serve as a deterrent to others who are still scouting for vulnerable Nigerians to traffic.

The governor, who was among guests at an event held at the British High Commission in Abuja on Thursday, however, said that the state had been hindered by delays in prosecution.

He said whereas government had recruited competent prosecutors, judicial processes, long adjournments and handling of victims’ testimonies were delaying government’s move to get convictions.

He said: “We have been able to intensify investigation and prosecution. But unfortunately, we have not been able to get any conviction.

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“Not because the prosecutors are not doing their utmost best, but because of the very nature of our legal system.

“We are working very hard with the high courts and NAPTIP to ensure that we get convictions.

“This can serve as a deterrent and punishment to the perpetrators, ensuring that they lose property and they lose assets with which we will now use in supporting the rehabilitation of victims.

“We will work with the judiciary to try and reduce the long adjournments and also the way they treat evidences from victims.

“Many of these victims are afraid of revealing information on their traffickers because of threats, but we are taking measures to provide safe houses for them and to provide cover for them until we are able to get prosecutions.”

The governor said that in the last four years under his watch, the number of persons trafficked from the state had reduced with rehabilitation and reintegration of over 6,500 returnees.

READ  Tears from prison: 10 Nigerian girls trafficked to Lebanon cry help

He said that the focus for the government, working with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), is to re-humanise the victims and restore their dignity.

He added that the government also, in the process of rehabilitation, extracts information from the victims in a bid to understand the scope and nature of the network.

“We have rehabilitated over 6,500 victims of trafficking and irregular migration working with partners like the IOM.

“We have also used the opportunity to extract a lot of data to understand the nature and scope of all these trafficking network and crisis.

“With that information, we now understand what drives people and what have driven people to be trafficked, the areas they come from, their social situation and economic situations.

“That has helped us to put strategies in place to combat trafficking in Edo state.

“You would see from records available that the incidence of trafficking and irregular migration in Edo state over the last three years has dropped dramatically,” he said.

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JIFORM to African leaders: give youths social security to combat human trafficking

Ajibola JIFORM President

JIFORM President Ajibola

As the world marks the 2021 Day Against Trafficking In Persons on July 30, the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) has urged government in Africa to pay more attention to the social security schemes to stem the tide of human trafficking on the continent.

The global media body with over 300 journalists covering migration across the continents is hosting its 3rd global migration summit in partnership with the Altec Global Inc, Toronto Canada and others at the Niagara Falls in the country between November 29 to December 6, this year.

The President of JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi in a statement noted that “the major pull factor of human trafficking in Africa is poverty. The youths being trafficked need jobs, shelter, security and empowerment. Before we can ensure that the victims’ voices lead the way as the theme of the 2021 anti-human trafficking day implies, every government on the continent must not pretend on the relevance of improved socio- economic status for their citizens. Time to do needful is now by being honest and set aside undue semantics and theories.

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“We salute the doggedness of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) in Nigeria. The law establishing the agency should be reviewed to mandate the leadership of the agency to be totally professional and hierarchically structured as uniformed organization.

“NAPTIP needs more funding to recruit more hands and have its presence in the 774 local governments in Nigeria. The agency should be more strategically involved in the migration process of mostly young Nigerian ladies to be sure of their mission at the airports through collaboration with the Nigeria Immigration Service.

“Youth empowerment is very key to any preventive measure. Poverty, economic hardship and ignorance are the major weapons being used by the traffickers to sway victims in Africa especially Nigeria.

“Therefore, for the theme of this year’s anti-human trafficking day to be meaningful in Nigeria and Africa, JIFORM agrees totally that listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking are very important. Survivors are key actors in the fight against human trafficking.

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“But how well have we re-integrate many of them into the society? The victims play a crucial role in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime, identifying and rescuing victims and supporting them on their road to rehabilitation.

“We cannot agree less with the United Nations that many victims of human trafficking have experienced ignorance or misunderstanding in their attempts to get help. They have had traumatic post-rescue experiences during identification interviews and legal proceedings. Some have faced revictimization and punishment for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. Others have been subjected to stigmatization or received inadequate support. So, we must rise to implement the preventive measures and defend the victims.

“Learning from victims’ experiences and turning their suggestions into concrete actions will lead to a more victim-centered and effective approach in combating human trafficking. The media too must play its roles to carry out more campaigns to complement what is expected from the government” Ajibola added.

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IOM rushes to help refugees as deadly monsoon rains wreak havoc in Bangladesh

 

IOM, Rohingya volunteers and partners are working relentlessly to assist those affected by this week’s heavy rains in Bangladesh. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al

Cox’s Bazar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today many of the more than 13,000 Rohingya refugees forced out of their camps by flooding in Cox’s Bazar which has killed at least six people were returning to their shelters to salvage belongings after a break in heavy rains, but the risk of more casualties remained high.

IOM said a total of more than 21,000 refugees had been affected and almost 4,000 shelters were destroyed. Food distribution centres, health facilities and water points have been damaged during three days of non-stop rain.

The six confirmed dead were killed in landslides or drowned in two IOM-managed camps and officials fear more flooding and landslides will prevent help reaching others among the total of 884,000 Rohingya refugees in the country.

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Access to the camps is hazardous as constant landslides block the main roads leading to the camps, and major routes used by refugees and humanitarian actors are under water.

Up to 2,000 people have been evacuated from landslide-prone areas in Teknaf upazila (sub-district).

“Heavy rainfall is expected during the next few days, and as such, challenges are likely to increase,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh.

“Over the past few months, IOM has been assessing the risk of landslides, strengthening drainage networks, installing slope protection measures and upgrading key pathways. However, despite multiple disaster risk reduction measures being implemented, the camp congestion, excessive rain and poor soil quality, make it extremely difficult to cope with the elements,” Pereira said.

One hundred Rohingya Disaster Management Unit (DMU) volunteers trained in each camp have been working around the clock and focusing on helping the most vulnerable, including the elderly and pregnant women. IOM teams are assessing the damage and working closely with the different sectors to refer those affected for relevant assistance. Mobile medical teams have been deployed and the protection emergency response unit has been activated.

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Staff on the ground are clearing drainage pipes, repairing damage and distributing emergency shelter kits, core relief items, and aquatabs to prevent waterborne diseases.

IOM has sent in Cyclone Preparedness Programme volunteers to urgently assist host community members.

Families have taken refuge in six different multi-purpose cyclone shelters where they are currently being assisted with relief items, protection and medical support. Since 2019, IOM has been supporting the rehabilitation of MPCS so community members can take shelter in case of disasters.

The current flood emergency further exacerbates the massive humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. After almost four years since the latest influx of Rohingya refugees who arrived in Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar, IOM is relying on its partners to continue to support the response.

Additional support is needed to enable teams to continue to assist those affected, as well as the rest of the refugees currently residing in the camps. As always, IOM advocates for the continuation of a comprehensive humanitarian assistance for refugees across all camps.

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