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

Human trafficking is by every standard is an abominable practice. But while trafficked male victims most often are made to work as drivers, in factories among others, the females are always made to work as prostitutes or house helps often sexually assaulted. Many girls are said to have been either maimed or killed doing these debasing jobs. Are these all that the female gender is good for? PHILIPPINE OBETO DURU asks.

 

Jenifer, is a victim of human trafficking and as at the time of putting together this report was stranded in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai to be specific. She was promised a job in a restaurant in Dubai but three days after she arrived there, the story changed as she was bluntly told she was there to work as a prostitute. “I met a lady whose name is Chidera Nwabugo,  in Lagos. When we met, she  said she has a restaurant in Dubai where I will be selling food and drinks for her. I eventually came to Dubai with her.  Three days after I arrived Dubai, she said it is not food and drink business that I will be doing again but prostitution,” Jenifer said in a video made available to us.

 

Since she started working as a prostitute, the crestfallen young lady said she has paid her trafficker a whooping sum of N5million in the last three years. “I have slept with 550 men here in Dubai. Now I am stranded and frustrated.  She sold my paper, (documents) to somebody returning to Nigeria,”.

The trafficker, she added eventually  got married and ran away from Dubai and has returned to Nigeria where she has put to bed.

“I want to go back home because I am frustrated. I don’t have jobs or anything doing here in Dubai. Things are hard here for me and I want to go back home,”  Jenifer said in emotion laden voice.

 

Jenifer’s case is  just one out of innumerable and deplorable experiences Nigerian ladies trafficked abroad have been made to go through.

Telegraph.co.uk in December 2019 reported that nearly a quarter of young Nigerian women and girls responding to a survey said they had been subject to attempts to traffic them into sexual exploitation, domestic slavery or forced marriage.

“UK charity Plan International polled 500 Nigerian women in their teens and 20s on their experiences of and attitudes to migration and trafficking. The survey found that many were keen to seek a better life abroad but were also at risk of being coerced into dangerous situations.

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The survey found that 24 per cent of those questioned had nearly fallen victim to trafficking but had managed to escape.

And one in 10 of those surveyed said they knew someone who had been forced into domestic work, prostitution or some form of sexual exploitation either at home or abroad.

Quoting the  IOM on the numbers of women who are trafficked from Nigeria into Europe, particularly into Italy, pathfindersji.org said “approximately 11,000 women arrived via the Mediterranean Sea into Italy in 2016, again mostly from Edo. IOM estimates that 80% of these young women arriving from Nigeria – whose numbers have soared from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,009 in 2016 – will likely be forced into prostitution as sex trafficking victims. Supra.  (According to Italian authorities, there are between 10,000 to 30,000 Nigerian women working in prostitution on the streets of Italy.)  90% of migrant women arriving into Italy from Libya arrive with bruises and other signs of violence.”

These and many more are the ugly experiences of Nigerian young ladies in the hands of depraved fellow citizens working as traffickers.

 

Before Jenifer’s video was made available to us, a  28-year old Nigerian, Kemi, who was trafficked to Oman,  told of  how she is being sexually harassed and starved by her Omani boss.

Kemi left Oman in November 2016 to search for greener pastures after being talked into the deal by a close friend and upon arriving in there her host seized her international passports and other vital documents to retain her service as housemaid.

Narrating her ordeal to the President of Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM), Ajibola Abayomi during an exclusive telephone chat, the troubled lady said within the last four years she has been resold four times to different masters where she worked as housemaid on monthly stipends that was never paid in most cases.

Some months ago according to her, she was traded off to her present master for 800 rials (N700, 000).
Although her current master placed her  on a monthly salary of N70,000 per month however she had  been under serious sexual harassment.

“At the current house I am now working, the man wants to sleep with me but I have been refusing him so he told me to go back to the office that brought me to him. I am being starved of food and kept indoors without being allowed to go out.

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“I can no longer cope with this job so please I want to go back home. Kindly assist me. I have an Ordinary National Diploma from Offa Polytechnic; there are better opportunities in Nigeria. I am tired, all the money I have been getting I used to send it home to assist my younger ones” Kemi lamented.

Another   Nigerian lady, Omolola, also suffered serious sexual harassment in the hands of her aged boss in Lebanon before she was rescued.

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.

 

Following the helpless condition she 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.”

 

The founder of RebirthHub Africa, Omotola Fawunmi, who has been reaching out to many of the girls and facilitating their return especially from the Middle East, vehemently opposed to trafficking of Nigerian ladies for prostitution and despicable jobs abroad.

Omotola Fawumi

“This is not all what females are good for. We need to understand that the concept of people trafficking people and sexually assaulting them is power issue. It is a function of the man feeling he is superior to the woman. The buyer feeling he owns the slave he has bought. So it is a power issue.”

President of JIFORM , Ajibola Abayomi , described the plight of the victims  as one of the most disgusting things to note is the trafficking of the Nigerians girls abroad numbering over one million yearly according to the NAPTIP. Very dehumanizing is the manner the many of them were deceived  that all was well in especially the Middle East and Arab world, whereas the reverse is the case.

Ajibola JIFORM President

JIFORM President Ajibola

“What is giving opportunities for the criminality is the loss of hope of job opportunities for the youths at home. Unfortunately many of these ladies never knew prostitution is the order of the day whether as housemaid or otherwise. JIFORM will advise every Nigerian lady to shun deceptive adverts being used to cajole their minds. It is an evil plot that must be shunned. No point to embark on a journey you would regret later.”

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The nation’s anti trafficking agency, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) , said it has not been resting on its oars in coming to the aids of the embattled ladies.

 

Head of Intelligence and International Cooperation Unit NAPTIP, Angela Aleakhue Agbayekhai, said the agency has directly been  engaging the victims via telephone call/whatsapp chats, to interview them, learn first-hand their situation and location, transmitting information to the victims on location of Nigerian Mission(s) in that country as well as foreign partners (NGOs) they could contact for immediate assistance.

 

She added that the agency has also been transmitting victims’ information to relevant authorities  like MFA,  IOM,  NIA, NIDCOM etc) for urgent intervention. “We have been contacting victims’ family members to establish the circumstances that led to their being trafficked apprehending those culpable in their movement abroad (traffickers) for prosecution.

We also expose  repatriated victims to skill acquisition and empowerment.”

 

 

 

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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.

READ  Personal Documents of Migration, now translated in German

“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.

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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.

READ  Human traffickers in brutal exploits (2)

 

 

 

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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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