18 MYTHS on prostitution

In 2014, in the framework of its campaign Together for a Europe free from prostitution’, and at the eve of the vote of the EP resolution on gender equality and prostitution (Honeyball resolution), the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) developed a leaflet responding to the most frequent assumptions on prostitution. 18 myths are therefore looked at from a gender equality and women’s rights perspective. From “It is the oldest profession in the world” to “We must combat trafficking, but prostitution has nothing to do with it”, EWL’s leaflet wants to provide human rights evidence-based answers to the reality of prostitution and trafficking in women in Europe and in the world.

The leaflet also comprises a comparison of the Swedish and Dutch policies, after ten years of implementation, based on official reports and studies. The last page summarises the demands of the Brussels’ Call, which has been signed by more than 200 organisations from all over Europe and beyond, including IROKO. In 2014, 54 MEPs had already signed it, from different countries and political groups.

Read the full leaflet here.


Convention on the Sex Industry and Human Trafficking, Rome, May 2018

“We all want to find ways for the women to be safe. But we know that the women and the men, the boys and the girls can never be safe in prostitution. We can only reduce the harm. That’s not good enough. We don’t talk about reducing the harm for sexually abused children or women who are raped. We talk about ending it. And yet, when you talk about ending the sex trade, many people laugh at you and say ‘we can’t stop prostitution’. I say ‘really? Do you not think that we can end poverty?’ and they’ll say yes. ‘Do you think that we can end child sexual abuse?’ ‘Well, yes.’ ‘Do you think we can end racism?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well why can’t you imagine ending prostitution? Men are not born with this innate desire to have sex with a woman who isn’t consenting. We call that socialisation and patriarchy. Of course there is no innate need for men to have one-sided consensual sex with a woman who doesn’t want to be there. The propagandists that spin the mythology that leads people to say legalisation is the only way, know very well that, if they say prostitution is inevitable, it’s always been here and it always will be here, people somehow absorb this and believe it. If I hear the phrase ‘the oldest profession’ one more time, I might have to do some damage. Of course it’s not a profession. Of course that isn’t the case. Children have been sexually abused forever. Does that make it natural and inevitable? Of course it doesn’t.”

Julie Bindel, Convention on the Sex Industry and Human Trafficking, Rome, May 2018.

To read Julie Bindel’s speech in full, as well as others from the convention, click here.


A great step forward in the fight against human trafficking in the Nigerian region of Edo State

A great step forward in the fight against human trafficking in the Nigerian region of Edo State

This action brings together governmental forces, through the task force of which Iroko is a member, and the most important traditional and spiritual leader of Edo State and has triggered a positive mechanism for change in the region, where a large majority of those trafficked from Nigeria to Europe come from. We are dedicating every available resource towards continuing this process, which represents a concrete opportunity for change for many Nigerians.

On 9th March Oba Ewuare II, during a well-attended ceremony held in the royal palace in Benin City, revoked the oaths imposed on victims of trafficking by native doctors in Edo State, putting a curse on anyone who creates or collaborates with underground criminal gangs who force people to take an oath. It is these criminal activities, which are not part of Edo culture and society that the Oba has distanced himself from.
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Task force awareness campaigns against trafficking

The law against trafficking was recently passed by the Edo State House of Assembly. The Edo State Task Force has been carrying out Town Hall Meetings to raise awareness about the risks of trafficking.

After this first and important step, the Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking is supporting campaigns to penetrate the several Local Government Areas of Edo State. Officials of the taskforce distribute information materials and speak to the people to make them aware of the dangers of exposing their children, teenagers and girls to the hazards of illegal migration to Europe by land.
The Town hall meetings will continue as part of the Edo State Government commitment to end trafficking through awareness raising programmes, development of the state in order to provide employment opportunities for young people and through support for returnees from Libya and from Europe.

These pictures are from the town hall meeting at Oredo LGA (Edo State).




Oba of Benin (Edo State) revokes curses on victims of trafficking

Oba Ewuare II, the King of Benin (current Edo State, Nigeria) has ordered native doctors of Edo State to revoke all of the curses and oaths placed on victims of trafficking, himself invoking a curse on all those native doctors who continue to force or coerce victims into taking oaths.

This important event took place on 9th March during a ceremony, held in the Royal Palace of Benin City, to which many priests and native doctors were invited, as well as representatives from NAPTIP, the government agency which works to tackle human trafficking and members of the government task force that is fighting against trafficking. Iroko is an active member of this task force (here are some pictures from the ceremony taken by representatives of the task force).
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Edo State Task Force against trafficking: training programmes for returnees

Last July we announced the creation of a Task Force to fight trafficking in Edo State, during the 4th Edo Women’s Conference, as reported here.
The work is in progress and the Edo State Task Force is putting in place development programmes, appropriate training and employment insertion or creation for returnees from Libya – 500 Libya returnees so far – and from European countries, as a means of eradicating trafficking from the state.

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Task force against trafficking in Edo State

I am pleased to announce that the Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has announced the creation of a Task Force to fight trafficking in Edo State, during the 4th Edo Women’s Conference.
Results must be seen within the year, he said.
EWDI and IROKO are working to support his administration and the Edo State Attorney General Yinka Omorogbe (EWDI’s erstwhile Chairwoman) in their activities to create the Task Force.

Esohe Aghatise
Executive Director of Iroko Onlus
EWDI’s trustee

In the picture: Esohe Aghatise, an Edo Women trustee, the Attorney General, the Governor, the UNODC delegate, the Director of NAPTIP Edo zonal Office, the Nigerian investigative reporter Tobore Ovuorie – who experienced trafficking undercover – and the Swiss Ambassadress.


EWDI’s Commitment Against Nigerian Trafficking

The 4th Annual Conference on Trafficking in Persons is to be held in Benin City, Nigeria, on Thursday 13th July, by Edo Women’s Development Initiative (EWDI).
This year the focus is Modern-Day Slavery: Policies and Programmes to Combat/End Trafficking in Edo State.
For the fourth year in a row, the all-female group -some of which EWDI’s founders- puts the trafficking issue, mainly involving women and young women from Edo State trafficked to be sexually exploited in Europe, under the international spotlight.

The roots of the problem are various: political instability in Nigeria and in the neighbouring countries; growing poverty in the countries of origin and smugglers in Italy; unchanged sex demand despite economic crisis in Europe.
Underage girls victims of trafficking sold by their families have grown in number over recent years.

Therefore, we need to analyse the problem through its political, economical, social and cultural implications.
This is the reason why EWDI intends to actively involve civil society, public entities and religious bodies in order to allocate resources to arrest the trafficking and selling of women mainly from Edo State.
EWDI is engaged in this effort since 2014.
This year Esohe Aghatise, Director of Iroko, will give a keynote address. A UN Expert on Trafficking in persons and Board Member of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, she was honoured in 2007 by the US State Department as a hero in the fight against Modern-Day Slavery; in 2008 by the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) for her work against trafficking and awarded in 2014 by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) as one of the women and men inspiring Europe in Gender Equality.

Finally, it is encouraging to know that one of EWDI trustees, Professor Yinka Omorogbe, is the new Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General at Edo State.




Casale del Rio is coming alive

Do you know the Casale del Rio?
Don’t you know what we are talking about?
Ok. This is our biggest project to date, which we would like to carry out as soon as possible, with the support from you all.
We wish to turn this 17th Century country house to a home for women, where places come alive thanks to their creativity.
We already talked to you all about it, a farm house in Villamiroglio, immersed in the very heart of Monferrato (Piedmont), the home of Barbera wine and white truffle.
Here you can find more information about our ambitious project.

Your support is necessary and important, but we are proud to show you the small but significant steps taken one year on for the home renovation.
Brick by brick the idea of the house is taking shape.

How it is now

How it was

We are very confident that the future will bring us a big opportunity.
Join us to keep yourself up to date and please SUPPORT US!

Thank you!