Iduozee Paul, Benin correspondent
In order to reduce the high rate of human trafficking in the state, the chairman, Edo State Taskforce Agency, Prof Yinka Omorogbe, said the agency is currently probing and prosecuting over 20 cases in court.
Prof. Omorogbe said they are only waiting for the proper implementation of existing laws against the scourge, stressed that the task force comprised of people from different fields.
She made the disclosure at a sensitization and stakeholder workshop on trafficking in persons organized by Africa Faith and Justice Network of Nigeria (AFJN-N), in Benin City. She said the Edo State government is doing everything possible to curb the menace.
Prof. Omorogbe who is also the state attorney general and commissioner for Justice told the participants that some of the victims are passing through hard labour, harvesting of organs, starvation, molestation, imprisonment and prostitution.
The commissioner said some of the girls who are into prostitution sleep with as many as 20 to 25 men a day and advised parents not to send their children abroad for prostitution.
She thanked Catholic women for their roles and contributions to fighting human trafficking in the state.
Giving the essence of the workshop, which had as theme, “Solidarity Against Trafficking In Persons,” the executive director, Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN-N), Rev. Aniedi Okureop, said the organization seeks to educate and advocate for just relations with Africa, and to work in partnership with African peoples as they engage in the struggle for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.
“Domestic and sexual violence plague the Nigerian society. Nearly 30 per cent of women have experienced physical violence. One in four girls, and one in six boys experienced sexual violence before the age of 18; human trafficking continues taking place at alarming rates.”
“The sisters formed a network of Catholic women, who would actively engage on issues of human rights violations, especially those pertaining to women and children, and the integrity of creation”.
He said addressing poverty is a major concern.
“AFJN-N is mobilizing Nigerian women and religious women towards changing the structures that perpetrate poverty, working with them to become a formidable force for solving the current socio-economic and political ills in Nigeria, particularly, the issue of human trafficking, ” Rev. Aniedi said.
In her remarks, the Laity president of the Benin Catholic Archdioces, KSJ, Dr. Christiana Jegede, blamed government at all levels in Nigeria for the causes of human trafficking. She said the present hardship in Nigeria contributed to the high rate of human trafficking.
Dr. Jegede lamented that the serious hard ship, failure of governments and parents quest for their children to go abroad for quick money resulted to human trafficking. She called for collaborative efforts between all actors to combat human trafficking.
Head Legal and Prosecuting Unit, NAPTIP Benin Command, Rosemary Emodogo, said from investigations they have arrived on the fact that parents are pressurizing their daughters to migrate abroad for prostitution.
She explained that some of those girls are passing through physiological trauma and many are infected with various diseases.
She advised the parents and youths not to devalue themselves because of money and narrated some of the ugly experiences they had with some of the victims and how they are regretting their fate.
The legal adviser of AFJN-Ñ, Rev. Sister Juliet Ifediba Ola, said human trafficking has caused so much harm to the youths.
She said the organization works to empower communities in Nigeria to tackle these problems and engage governments and the public in addressing these issues.
Africa Faith and Justice Network of Nigeria was founded in 2016 in collaboration with Africa Faith and Justice Network in Washington DC.