Swiss Govt, UNODC, NAPTIP Empower 30 Trafficked Victims

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• As NCWS flays violence against women, children
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Government of Switzerland in conjunction with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and NAPTIP, have presented equipment for the empowerment of 30 victims of human trafficking and illegal migration.

The equipment which comprised of sewing machines, hair dressing machines, generators, refrigerators, gas cookers and other accessories were handed over to those who participated in a three-day training, support and Capacity Building to NAPTIP on Management Training for Trafficked Persons.

Making the presentation, Jolanda Pfister Harren, Migration Adviser, Embassy of Switzerland to Nigeria, said the overall objective of the empowerment project was to tackle the issue of human trafficking, successful rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims.

She said the purpose of the Swiss-Nigeria migration partnership is to work together more closely and in a comprehensive manner in the area of migration, in the interest of both countries and the migrants, with the aim to tackle together the challenges of global migration.

Harren, who recalled that Nigeria was the first country with which Switzerland established a migration partnership, since 2011, noted that since then, both countries have enjoyed and excellent and close collaboration on migration issues.

According to her, “Numerous projects and activities have been implemented so far in various fields, including the fight against human trafficking and migrants smuggling, capacity building in immigration administration and protection of vulnerable migrants.

“Trafficking issues are often linked to irregular migration, as irregular migrants can be easy victims of these networks. Trafficking in persons is one of the worst forms of human exploitation.”
The Swiss envoy however expressed regret that in spite of numerous efforts to counter the phenomenon, human trafficking has remained a tremendous challenge to tackle.

She pointed out that because of the complexity associated with it, a thoughtful approach and appropriate instruments to counter it effectively and in a sustainable way is required.

Also in an address, the UNODC Officer-in-Charge of the presentation, Mrs. Elizabeth Bayer, stated that the work of the organisation is guided by the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime which Nigeria has ratified both instruments and article 6 of the protocol.

“Today, and in line with these provisions, UNODC, with funding from the government of Switzerland, supports NAPTIP in implementing one of its core mandate; that is the protection, assistance and rehabilitation of trafficked persons by empowering 30 victims of trafficking with vocational skills equipment for catering, hair dressing, photography, tailoring and bread making. Each beneficiary is also provided with a generator as back up for electricity power supply in their business”, she stated.

Bayer, who was represented by UNODC Project Officer, Joseph Sanwo, also noted that “along with the provision of such equipment, we spent that last two days delivering specialized training on Business Management. This is aimed at providing basic knowledge that is necessary for successful business, to ensure economic self-reliance, within the family, community and society at large and sessions on customer relations skills that can boost sales return.”

She therefore, cautioned beneficiaries to take proper care of the equipment and maximise its use, hoping that NAPTIP would be in a position to monitor progress made.
On his part, Godwin Morka, who represented NAPTIP Director General, advised the beneficiary against illegal migration. He said though there is nothing wrong in embarking on movements, but not having the legal right to enter a country is wrong.

Narrating how many Nigerians die in the Sahara Desert while trying to pass through the Mediterranean Sea, Morka stressed that even when some of them succeeded in crossing, they are treated like slaves.
He cautioned that Nigeria is not so bad to warrant Nigerians to die in the desert or fall into the hands of bandits, adding “if we have faith in our country, we will succeed.”

Highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the empowerment equipment to beneficiaries.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Sarah Osato thanked the Switzerland government, UNODC and NAPTIP for the feature and promised they would make good use of the equipment to make life more meaningful to themselves and their immediate family, adding that they will not sell the empowerment equipment given to them.

Meanwhile, the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS) has condemned in totality the continued violence against women and children in Libya and Italy describing it as “man’s inhumanity to man”.
A statement signed by the President of the Council, Gloria Shoda in Abuja said the council would not fold its hands and watch women and children being brutalised all over the world.
She said the issue of brutality and rape of women and children has become a global concern for the international community to be united to find common solution.

The president recalled a report showing auctioning in different parts of Libya, where stranded African migrants were sold as slaves for as little as $400. She also cited incidents of rape, abuse and brutality of women and children in Libya and Italy.

Shoda also recalled that an Italian court has sentenced to life imprisonment a sadistic people smuggler who raped, tortured and murdered migrants trying to reach Europe from North Africa.
She said unless the international community tackles violence against women, the world will not eradicate poverty or achieve any of the other Sustainable Development Goals.
“It is time to further our collective action to end violence against women and girls for good,” she affirmed.

According to her, UN and UNICEF reports show that around the world, more than one in three women in their lives have experienced physical violence, sexual abuse, or both.
She said this has continued to hamper women’s rights. “It is time for united action from all of us, so that women and girls around the world can live free from harassment, harmful practices, and all other forms of violence,” she said.