The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, wednesday saluted the roles of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II and the European Union in the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration in the state, in the last one year.
Obaseki gave the commendation while taking stock of the activities of the Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking, during its one-year anniversary, at the Weekly State Executive Council meeting at the Government House, in Benin City, the state capital.
The governor, one year ago, initiated a multi-pronged fight against human trafficking, few months into assumption of office, deploying a mix of approaches to curb the ugly trend.
“We believe that if we tackle the issue of poverty by making people more comfortable, they will not want to travel illegally. For us as a government, we have encapsulated the challenge of migration as one that is driven by under-development.
“We thank the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II for his support and responsiveness, which have been praised by the World. This has shown that trafficking and prostitution are not in our culture,” the governor said.
He expressed his gratitude to the European Union, Christian Association of Nigeria and Muslim leaders for their support in ensuring that the menace of human trafficking is tamed.
Earlier, Chairman of the taskforce, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, during her presentation, said that they have received 3, 883 returnees, who have benefited from the state government’s reintegration package.
Prof. Omorogbe explained that the taskforce’s data showed that 80.17 percent were independent migrants between 18 and 25 years of age, which is alarming, as they are members of the active population.
In a report released to mark its one-year anniversary, the taskforce said the state government received 3883 persons from Libya, noting that the holistic approach includes receive the victims; provision of medical diagnosis and assistance; contact and reunion with family; security screening, investigation and protection, vocational training and empowerment and payment of stipends.
The taskforce added that it has intensified advocacy in areas where human trafficking is endemic, as “it has fought the scourge through various strategies including vigorous investigation and prosecution of traffickers and their accomplices; the eventual passage of a state law against trafficking in humans; various measures to aid understanding of the nature and causes of this menace.
“We have engaged communities where trafficking is prevalent, to proactively discourage the practice through knowledge exchanges, and appropriate training packages ranging from basic education to assistance with establishing business. The entire programme is anchored on efficient data collection, analysis and research,” Omorogbe said.