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JIFORM seeks urgent help for 30 Nigerian ladies trafficked to Lebanon

30 Nigerian ladies trafficked to Lebanon now stranded in the country have appealed to the Nigerian authorities to come to their rescue as videos of their predicament hit the social media.

The Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM), through its President, Ajibola Abayomi, relayed the message after exclusive encounter with victims through a statement on Friday and called for speedy rescue action from the government.

He said beyond lamentations, JIFORM had forwarded details of the human trafficking agents involved in the matter to the relevant agencies and shall diligently monitor it to the logical conclusion to ensure proper investigation and prosecution of all those involved.

The ladies all camped in one room with faulty toilet and other utilities are presently housed in a building at city of Dawra in Lebanon.

Narrating their ordeals, one of the victims who spoke on behalf others, Miss Adebisi Comfort Oluwatoyin with passport number A10597908, said they had to escape from inhumane treatment being meted to them by their mistresses and hosts to assemble at their present location.

The 23 years old lady hails from Ondo State, graduated from the Edo State Polytechnic, Ekpomma and was a resident in Osun state before departing Nigeria in December 2019.

“We are dying here and we need urgent rescue attention from our Nigerian government. We are appealing to Honourable Abike-Dabiri Erewa, Pastor Enoch Adeboye of Redeemed Church, Prophet Genesis of Celestial Church, Apostle Suleiman, Prohet T.B. Joshua and other men of God for prayers and help.
“Help us plead with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and others to save us. The Nigerian embassy in Lebanon have tried but we want to go back home.

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“Our stories are pathetic and regrettable. We were told by agents before we left Nigeria that we are going to be paid between N250,000 and N30O,0000 a month as teachers and house maids but getting here we were subjected to sexual labour and other terrible jobs.

“Our belongings and international passports were seized with no payments for the service we have been rendering for months. They loosen and cut our hairs with razor blade.

“Every day, we are being beaten with constant harassments from the Lebanese police. Our employers cooked all sorts of stories against us by lying that we stole their gold, killed their children and manhandled their aged ones without any evidence. The police and their immigration are always on their side. We are not getting justice and our lives are in danger.
“At the moment many of us are sick and down with ulcer, tuberculosis and other illness and the hospitals here are not attending to us because we have no document to prove our status. We are dying. It is really a crime to be a black in this world. We want to go back home and shall be contented with whatever rehabilitation scheme government can give us” Adebisi lamented.

Speaking from the United States of America, the Executive Director/Co-Founder of Rescue Africans In Slavery Organisation (RAIS), Ms Omotola Fawunmi who said she has been responsible for the upkeep of the ladies pleaded with the government and other agencies to join the rescue mission.

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“Over the years, we have been in involved in this. These ladies are really suffering. The Nigerian government must act fast. Apart from this case, there are over 300 of them trapped in Oman and thousands across other Asia countries, beyond sustaining the ladies, we have facilitated evacuation of thousands of human trafficking victims in last few years and also provided them with medical and series of rehabilitation supports. All of us must fight human trafficking to save our youths” she counseled.

Also worried about the development, the County Manager, The Migrant Project, Nigeria, Clare Henshaw called for swift action to be taken by NAPTIP and NIDCOM.

“First, we want the ladies to be rescued as soon as possible. Their condition is very critical because they don’t have good shelter, food and they need urgent medical attention. My personal conversation with Comfort showed that they were really in a bad state at the moment.

“After rescuing the ladies, there must be thorough investigation and punishment for the agents and other human traffickers involved in this.”

When contacted, the Nigeria Immigration Service, through its National Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller James Sunday said all hands were on deck to redeem the situation by working with the NIDCOM and other agencies.
According him, the Nigerian ambassador and the ladies in Lebanon had been contacted for necessary intervention as he cautioned the ladies to refrain from further posts on the social media for security reasons.

Statement issued on behalf of NAPTIP Director General Barrister Julie Okah-Donli by the agency’s Press Officer, Mr Vincent Adekoye reads thus:
“The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is deeply concerned and shares the pains of the Nigerian girls who are stranded in Lebanon.
“It will be recalled that since May 2020, NAPTIP has, through the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ministry of humanitarian affairs Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the EU -International Organisation for Migration joint initiative and the Nigerian Embassy in Lebanon repatriated more than 100 victims of forced labour from Lebanon.

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“The Agency will work assiduously with all relevant authorities and partners to locate these girls and ensure that they return safely as soon as possible.
NAPTIP reiterates its appeal to young Nigerians to beware of people dangling tempting jobs in foreign lands as fake labour agents who are traffickers deploy all kinds of tricks to lure their potential victims.”

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Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

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Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

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Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  Always ensure factual narrative, IOM admonishes African journalists

 

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