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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.”

READ  World Day Against Trafficking in  Persons:  The Migrant Project presents Nigeria’s human trafficking fact sheet

 

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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IOM appeals for lifesaving assistance to over half a million displaced and vulnerable migrants in Niger

International Organisation of Migration (

Niger, one of the Sahel region’s busiest transit countries for migrants, faces multiple emergencies. COVID-19, ongoing security threats and generations of deeply embedded poverty have contributed to a growing humanitarian crisis, with over half a million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their host communities in need of essential services. Another 135,000 vulnerable migrants also need assistance in Niger in 2021.

To be able to provide much-needed assistance, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today is appealing for USD 121 million to provide essential support to migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities in 2021.

Continuous returns of migrants from Algeria—as well as migratory movements through Niger, both to and from Algeria and Libya—leave migrants lacking shelter, food, water and health assistance. In addition to these essential humanitarian interventions IOM is equally committed to promoting stability and social cohesion between host communities, IDPs and migrants.

Despite the official closure of land borders since 19 March, migrants continue to travel to, through and out of Niger on longstanding migration routes mainly to Libya and Algeria. IOM assists stranded migrants through its humanitarian operations (on the border with Algeria) and with search and rescue operations in Niger’s northern Agadez region, after which many migrants receive assistance in one of IOM’s six transit centres in Niger.

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An IOM assessment last year concluded at least 2.7 million migrants were stranded unable to return to their country of residence by COVID-19 mobility restrictions.

“In 2020, IOM assisted more than 9,000 stranded migrants in Niger, the majority of whom were from countries in the West and Central Africa region,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM Niger’s Chief of Mission. “Many of these migrants have been supported with voluntary return to their respective countries of origin, despite the official closure of the borders, through a humanitarian corridor established with the Government of Niger.”

Over 2,100 returning Nigeriens were also assisted with their COVID-19 isolation and onward assistance to their areas of origin once they arrived in Niger. Official convoys for stranded Nigeriens have been organized from various countries in West Africa by other IOM offices in collaboration with Niger’s government, including its consular missions.

Some 3.8 million Nigeriens will need assistance in 2021 according to the Humanitarian Needs Overview released by the Humanitarian Country Team in Niger. IOM Niger plans to scale up its level of assistance in areas that have been affected by different crises, including natural disasters and insecurity as a result of increasing activity by violent extremist organizations in Niger.

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IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s funding requirements in 2021 and beyond. The Platform is updated regularly.

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UNHCR appeals for immediate rescue of Rohingya refugees in distress on the Andaman Sea

This news comment is attributable Indrika Ratwatte, Director of the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.
BANGKOK, Thailand – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is appealing for the immediate rescue of a group of Rohingya refugees in distress on the Andaman Sea today.
UNHCR received reports of an unconfirmed number of Rohingya refugees aboard a vessel in distress as of the evening of Saturday 20th February. The refugees report having departed from Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf, Bangladesh, approximately ten days ago. Many are in a highly vulnerable condition and are apparently suffering from extreme dehydration. We understand that a number of refugees have already lost their lives, and that fatalities have risen over the past 24 hours.
Refugees have told us that the vessel ran out of food and water several days ago, and that many of the passengers are ill. The vessel has reportedly been adrift since the engine broke down, more than a week ago. We have not been able to confirm the number of refugees or their precise location at this time.
In the absence of precise information as to the refugees’ location, we have alerted the authorities of the relevant maritime states of these reports and appealed for their swift assistance, should the vessel be found in their area of responsibility for search and rescue. Immediate action is needed to save lives and prevent further tragedy.
As always, saving lives must be the priority. In line with international obligations under the law of the sea and longstanding maritime traditions, the duty to rescue persons in distress at sea should be upheld, irrespective of nationality or legal status. We appeal to all governments to deploy their search and rescue capacities and promptly disembark those in distress.
UNHCR stands ready to support governments across the region in providing any necessary humanitarian assistance and quarantine measures in the coming days for those disembarked, in line with public health protocols.
The fact that refugees and migrants continue to undertake fatal journeys accentuates the need for immediate and collective regional response to search, rescue and disembarkation

READ  Nigerian priest leaves German parish after receiving death threat

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Migrants play key role in disaster response, IOM explores diaspora’s engagement in humanitarian assistance

Stronger diaspora coordination has the potential for better and more effective humanitarian assistance in countries affected by disasters. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Many people, when they consider the contributions of migrants to their countries of origin, think first of remittance flows —the billions of dollars travelling annually between high income, “developed” destination countries to lower income regions in the Global South.

For decades, remittance flows have been larger than total official development assistance levels in low- and middle-income countries, and more stable than private capital flows. In 2020, which experts forecast as a year when a global pandemic would decrease remittance levels globally, the decline was nowhere near as considerable as predicted. Migrant workers and diaspora members —many employed in essential services— continued to send money home. Mexico, Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh all even saw rises in incoming remittances.

Yet, diasporas provide much more than financial support. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, diasporas have forged creative, transnational responses to support their communities in both their new countries of residence and those of origin. Diasporas provide supplies to hospitals; they equip communities with tutors and translators for school age children. They create helplines for families affected by the pandemic, developing campaigns to combat misinformation. And so much more.

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

To increase the scope of humanitarian assistance around the globe, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has implemented a project aimed at developing and piloting a framework for diaspora engagement in humanitarian assistance.

In cooperation with the Haiti Renewal Alliance, IOM has begun conducting remote consultations with key actors worldwide. IOM also has launched a survey for diaspora organizations to explore best practices migrants can leverage to strengthen their engagement.

“The results of the survey will allow us to dissect the challenges and interests of Diaspora organizations when delivering assistance in their country of origin,” said Magalie Emile-Backer, co-founder of the Haiti Renewal Alliance, an organization actively working to integrate Diasporas in the humanitarian system.

This effort comes at a crucial time, when the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic stretches resources for assistance.

“Diasporas’ engagement already is a critical component of humanitarian assistance, unlocking doors and knowledge that might not otherwise be available. Engagement contributes also to increasing communities’ resilience,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, IOM Chief of Mission in Washington, DC. “Diasporas’ involvement has the potential to further scale up all aspects of humanitarian response, preparedness and recovery matters.”

READ  Migrants play key role in disaster response, IOM explores diaspora’s engagement in humanitarian assistance

Ecuador
Founded by Ecuadorians and Spaniards, the Rumiñahui Association supports the needs of the migrant community in Spain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of 30 experts stepped up to provide psychological assistance to migrants across Spain, especially to women who have been victims of gender-based violence. Additionally, the Rumiñahui Association coordinated with an organization in the United States to donate 5,000 food kits to vulnerable households in Ecuador.

Pakistan
The Pakistani Diaspora Health Initiative developed a digital platform where the Pakistani diaspora health community around the world register to provide online consultations. The organization also promotes webinars to share knowledge between local and overseas health professionals on the latest, evidence-based COVID-19 practices.
Closer coordination and cooperation with other humanitarian actors can maximize this potential. Funded by the US Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs, the IOM project builds on several decades of work with diaspora communities. It aims to build the capacity of diasporas to better address disasters and to strengthen coordination with one another and with institutional humanitarian actors.

As seen during numerous man-made and natural disasters, diasporas have immense capacity for good. They can leverage their financial contributions, network with each other and offer technical skills and local area knowledge to quickly address humanitarian needs on the ground in communities of origin.

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After analyzing the survey results, IOM will join with partners to develop a framework for Diaspora engagement as well as a set of operational tools that diasporas and institutional actors can use across sectors and locations. With the right skills, resources and partnerships, diasporas can enhance humanitarian efforts, ultimately increasing the reach and support towards affected communities.

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