Parents have been advised against promoting trafficking of their children abroad for financial gains.
The Executive Director of a group, Pathfinders Justice Initiative (PJI), Evon Benson-Idahosa, gave the advice in Benin-city, Edo State, at a forum where a research findings on recruiters of sex trafficking in Oredo Local Government Area of the state was unveiled to stakeholders in partnership with CLEEN Foundation.
The ‘Pathway to Prevention’ research project was conducted over a period of one year (September 2019 to September 2020) in Oredo LGA, and is the first to focus solely on recruiters (promoters) of sex trafficking from one of the most endemic hot-spots in Africa.
She said the research published in 2020 shows that 98.7 per cent of the people interviewed agreed that parents in Oredo LGA mount pressure on their children (potential victims) to travel aboard for prostitution.
Benson-Idahosa said: “The survey revealed that potential victims’ families mount pressure on their own children by regularly making comparisons with the potential victim’s peers, who had travelled abroad and appeared to be successful.
“It also revealed that although both parents of potential victims may mount pressure on them to consent to being trafficked abroad, mothers are more often implicated in these situations.”
According to her, “Our hypothesis was that as entrenched, critical initiating actors and recruiters serve as the link between potential victims and traffickers. As such, we hypothesised that breaking the link to potential victims could potentially lead to an overall reduction of trafficking from Edo State. We are pleased to note that the research confirmed our hypothesis.
“This report could not be more timely, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to additional economic hardship for many returnees (and people who are potentially vulnerable to trafficking) who have indicated their desire to attempt a second effort to reach Europe once borders formally reopen. Now is the time to take action to prevent and protect them. Our recommendations outline precisely how this can be achieved.
“Finally, it is our belief that the research findings will serve to slave-proof local communities from recruiters and inform future policies and programmes/interventions.
She said 99.9 per cent of people interviewed indicated that they had heard about sex trafficking, while some of them want the campaigns to focus on the dangers and implications of sex trafficking.
In her remarks, the Zonal Coordinator, National Agency for the Prohibitions of Trafficking, Benin Zonal Command, Mrs. Ijeoma Uduak, called for stiffer punishment for traffickers to serve as a deterrent to others.
Uduak said: “We don’t want the option of fines for traffickers, they must serve jail terms.”