The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in collaboration with UK Aid, officially launched Nigeria’s first ever initiative aimed at reducing the number of overseas sex trafficking victims from Edo and Delta states.
The ‘Not for sale’ initiative, launched in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, aims to inspire, enable and empower young women in Edo and Delta states to find success on their own terms without paying the terrible price paid by so many others, who look for success abroad.
The initiative is further geared towards providing these women with the support services that enables them to seek out training and opportunities in their homeland Nigeria.
BusinessDay findings note that approximately 80% of Nigerian women who take the dangerous journey overseas end up being trafficked and forced into prostitution.
Speaking at the event, Julie Okah-Donli, director-general of NAPTIP, lauded the “the collaborative efforts of NAPTIP and UK Aid in driving positive conversations through the Not for Sale campaign. An initiative which is making immeasurable impact in the fight against modern slavery issues and its affect on vulnerable persons, especially young women, in the country.”
Okah-Donli, while providing further insight on the initiative said, “The Not for sale campaign provides a visible platform for stakeholders within the various states and communities to forge common ground in enlightening vulnerable young women in our society on the potential dangers of buying into false promises of a better life abroad, which range from involuntary servitude to rape, forced marriages and has cost many women their lives”.
She further called on the various state governments in Nigeria to “empower women in rural areas via effective skill acquisition programs which will ensure they earn good living and in turn, impact their communities positively”.
The highpoint of the event is the inspiring stories of young women from Edo and Delta state like Blessing, Gift, Latifah and Gladys who have found success on their own terms. Gift Oje Jonathan only made it to Libya where she was sexually abused and tortured.
Speaking with newsmen at the event, Gift commended the efforts of NAPTIP in “enlightening and empowering young women within the society on the need to believe in themselves and engage in worthwhile activities and programmes to be better equip them for the larger society”.
Oje Jonathan further expressed that “like many other young and vulnerable women the desire for a so called “better life” abroad leads to many bad choices but an initiative like Not For Sale should be sought after as one which shines a light on the need for self-empowerment and belief in local development rather than a false promise”.
The event was attended by director-general of NAPTIP Dame Julie Okah-Donli and John Primrose the Deputy Head of Office, Department for International Development (DFID) Nigeria, representing Her Excellency, Cationa Laing CB, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria.
The panel discussion which has distinguished pannelists that includes: Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora issues and Yinka Omorogbe, Attorney General & Justice Minister for Edo State, who counselled the youths against the grave danger in human trafficking.