IOM, NAPTIP take human trafficking, irregular migration campaign to Edo polytechnic
As part of its commitment to discourage youths from being lured into human trafficking and irregular migration, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has taken its campaign to Edo State Polytechnic, Usen in Ovia-Southwest Local Government Area of the state.
Cyprine Cheptepkeny, IOM awareness-raising officer, said the awareness campaign was undertaken by Migrants as Messengers (MaM) “Migration Room” to interact with potential migrants and discuss issues that border on irregular migration, trafficking, and smuggling of persons.
Cyprine, represented by Elijah Elaigwu, IOM project assistant opined that Migrant Room is a platform for sharing information geared towards minimizing chances of vulnerable persons falling victims to irregular migration.
She explained that the choice of Edo State Polytechnic was informed by the realization that it is a youth-dominated community and realising that youths are the prime target of traffickers.
According to her, the programme is meant to educate the academic community on the ills of illegal migration to ensure that the students do not fall victims while promoting safe migration.
She, however, used the occasion to educate the people on the Blue Bus Project, a partnership project of IOM and NAPTIP, with support from the Swiss government which focuses on human trafficking, including counseling.
In her remarks, Esther Oriarewo, director of the Center for Gender Studies of the polytechnic said human trafficking is a violation of human rights.
On her part, Chidi Ebere Ororo-Ifudu, the Benin zonal commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), who x-rayed the role of youths in checking human trafficking added that many youths have been deceived to fall victims to exploitation, including child labour forced labour, organ harvesting, and forced marriage.
Chidi Ebere, represented by Joan Ojewa noted that human trafficking affects the economy, leads to stigmatisation and rejection by society, while victims are also denied their freedom.
She said that human trafficking can be addressed through skills acquisition, noting that migration is a positive idea when done rightly.