After a four-hour bus ride through the bumpy roads of Ogun and Ondo states, I arrived in the hot, dusty town of Benin City on Thursday, July 10. Benin City is notorious for being the major source of victims of trafficking for purposes of sex work in Italy and other Western European countries.
I met with Jane Osagie of the International Reproductive Rights Research Group (IRRRAG), Grace Osakue of Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), Dr. Nosa Aladeselu of the African Women Empowerment Group (AWEG), and Nowa Omorogbe, Special Assistant to Eki Igbinedion, the First Lady and founder of Idia Renaissance.
Most of these NGOs’ anti-trafficking activities involve prevention and education. Most of my informants were convinced of the power of education to eradicate trafficking. AWEG has counseling units in schools and gives children tips on how to say ‘no’ to traffickers.
Mrs. Osagie raised the interesting point that just because many young women are trafficked from Benin City doesn’t mean that they’re indigenes. “Because of the high publicity given to international trafficking here they know to come to Edo State to find sponsors.”
GPI published Trafficking in Girls: The Way Forward resulting from a research program in Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states. Out of 32 victims of trafficking interviewed in Edo and Delta States, more were introduced to sponsors by parents or relatives than by agents or friends. Some parents, seeing another family’s growing wealth after a daughter has been sent abroad, actually seek out sponsors for their daughters.
Posted By Erica Williams
Posted Apr 9th, 2007