NGOs in Italy, Nigeria Join Forces against Human Trafficking

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Fighting human trafficking

Rebecca Ejifoma

The Nigerian Women Association (NWA) Verona Italy in collaboration with the Child Protection Network (CPN) Kosofe, are bent on restoring the image of Nigeria through support of victims of human trafficking while combating the recurrent menace.

To achieve this drive, the NWAV launched an initiative, INsigHT, to build capacity to deal with human trafficking and transit routes in Nigeria, Italy and Sweden while creating awareness on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons held in Lagos.

According to the Chairperson NWAV Lagos Chapter, Ms. Blessing Uwadineke, the NGO craves to increase capacity of key stakeholders in the Veneto Region (Italy), Edo and Lagos States (Nigeria) and Stockholm (Sweden).

“We want to tackle human trafficking, deal with its evolving dynamics, trends, forms and modus operandi with specific attention to female children among others,” she added.

Sadly, she noted that it is a stigma to be a Nigerian in Italy. She, however, insisted that, “Nigeria is good. We have something positive to offer beyond the negative vices”.

NWA Verona is a registered voluntary association bases in Verona, Italy. It has been in operation since 2004 solely to repatriate, counsel, empower and reintegrate Nigerian returnees from Italy.

Her words: “We work in the field of intercultural relations and foster togetherness among Nigerians.”
Riding on the watchword, ‘Value life, end trafficking,’ Uwadineke expressed that the country has work to do in combating trafficking and irregular migration.

As the vanguard of the cause, NWA is not only repatriating and counselling, “we support voluntary returnees and victims to ensure them access to local resources for their social and economic reintegration”, the chairperson said.

Other activities lined up include sensitising Nigerians aged 15 and 25 on requirements and rules to legal emigration in EU countries, visa procedure, fact sheets on social, cultural and economic data on Italy and Sweden.

Addressing stakeholders also, the CPN Coordinator Kosofe LGA, Mr. Awofeso Rasheed, described human trafficking as an antisocial behaviour; hence, all stakeholders are urged to change the narrative.

He added: “As stakeholders, all hands must be on deck to avail this activities considering the adverse effects of people being trafficked out of their countries of origin.”

Stating that things like this were subject to health challenges, he added that the victims were being used for forced labour and prostitution.

At every Community Development Centre (CDC) meeting, “We escalate this and tell our Community Development Area (CDA) members to return to their various communities and sensitise their people”.

While dissuading illegal migration, Awofeso spurred those nurturing the ambition to travel to continue but not through trafficking. “People who are trafficked don’t feel good at the end of the day”.

On the role of the government, the coordinator assured newsmen that it was doing its best on this lingering issue of trafficking. “But their best is not good enough. There is need good legislation on it, stiffer penalty on the side of the offenders.

“The area of our porous borders, too, is not helping matters. We have over 150 porous borders in Nigeria that are not being manned very well today. It’s one of the avenue through which people are trafficked,” he decried.

To help meet its target on ‘Ending trafficking in persons’, stakeholders like the police, Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), lawyers, NGOs among others were present at the conference.