…As New Apostolic Centre for Development Solicits Collaboration
The European Union Agent for Citizens Driven Transformation (EU-ACT) has organized two-day workshop on preventing human trafficking and responding to sexual and gender based violence in Benin City, Edo State capital.
The objective of the workshop is to mobilize the public and other stakeholders to join the fight against human trafficking and the ‘sister’ Gender Based Sexual Violence in Edo State. Awareness should trigger response, report, escalations and whistle blowing of SGBV.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from civil society organisations, faith based organisations, community based organisations, government officials and some media practitioners.
While welcoming participant to the workshop, a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Apostolic Centre for Development (NCD), Victor Oriakhi pointed out that the objective of the project is to mobilise the public and other stakeholders to join in combating human trafficking and sexual and gender based violence, social violations, assault and abuse of all forms.
“The objective of this workshop is to mobilize the public and other stakeholders to join the fight against human trafficking and the ‘sister’ Gender Based Sexual Violence in Edo State. Awareness should trigger response, report, escalations and whistle blowing of SGBV.”
While thanking the European Union and the British Council for funding the project, Oriakhi outlined the strategy NCD is adopting to realise the objective of the project.
“Part of the strategy in this workshop will be the three-prong approach of putting up preventive measures, education and public awareness, as well as building a very strong and formidable community spirit and alliance against human trafficking and gender based sexual violence.”
In her remarks, a member of the Edo State SGBV Implementation Committee, Anne Ojugo thanked the Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki for constituting the SGBV Implementation Committee noting that it underscores the fact that the fight against gender based violence requires concerted effort.
In a presentation on the topic “Responding to sexual and gender based violence in Edo State”, the manager, Vivian Centre of the Edo State Sexual Assault and Gender Based Violence Centre, Dr. Georgina Eronmonsele stressed the seriousness the Edo State government attaches to the fight against sexual assault and gender based violence, adding it’s the reason for the establishment of the Vivian Centre after the rape and grusome murder of Uwaila Omozuwa. She pointed out that the centre is a one stop shop for dealing with SGBV cases free of charge to victims.
According to Dr. Eronmonsele, “Vivian Centre is a one stop centre where we manage cases of rape, defilement, child labour, physical assault, wife batterying, domestic violence, and we attend to both male and female, free of charge.
“At our centre you can access medical services, legal services, counseling as we have medical personnels, lawyers, counselors, psychologists and faith based organisations who help in restoration and bringing perpetrators of Gender Based Violence to justice.”
She called on civil society organisations, faith based organisations and members of the public to report any case of SGBV to Vivian Centre assuring that not only that prompt action will be taken to save victims, but that such violators will be apprehended and brought to justice.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Iryn Omorogiuwa (Esq) who delivered a paper on the topic “The legal framework as preventive strategy to combat human trafficking and forced migration” noted that there are several laws prohibiting human trafficking and urged members of the public to report to the nearest security outfit whenever somebody is about to be trafficked or has been trafficked, assuring that such report will trigger action.
“Our people need to know that human trafficking is not a solution to any problem. Human trafficking negates the dignity of the human person. To take somebody without his consent for sexual exploitation from one place to the other is one of the kinds of human trafficking that we have. Human trafficking is wrong, it should not be encouraged. If you notice that somebody is about to be trafficked or has been trafficked, please mention it to the closest security agency to you. Human trafficking is causing economic problems, it is causing problems for us in the society and we need to do everything possible to reduce it, curb it and stop it.”
Speaking on the role of Edo State Trask Force Against Human Trafficking in addressing the challenge of trafficking in Edo State, the secretary, Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking, Itohan Okungbowa (Esq), stated that the task force was set up by the Edo State government to combat human trafficking and see to the enforcement of the Edo State Anti- human trafficking law adding
that the task force also engages in public awareness on the evils of human trafficking and prosecuting offenders.
While urging potential migrants to do so within the confines of the law, Okungbowa noted that human trafficking is not only for sexual exploitation, but also include forced labour and human organ harvesting.
In a remark, the Edo State Coordinator of the Conditional Cash Transfer, Flora Bossey called on women who may be displaced as a result of abusive spouse to speak out, seek help, assistance and information on Federal Government poverty alleviation programmes adding that over 12,000 people are currently benefiting from the federal government’s conditional cash transfer in six local government areas of Oredo, Ovia South-West, Igueben, Esan West, Owan East and Etsako Central.