INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITES TO SUPPORT EFFORTS TO COMBAT SEX TRAFFICKING IN NIGERIA WITH THE SCREENING OF OLOTURE IN ABUJA AND BENIN CITY
WHAT: The Gloria Steinem Equality Fund to End Sex Trafficking and its local partner Associazione Iroko Onlus invite you to a press conference on sex trafficking prior to the screening of Nigerian film Òlòturé directed by Kenneth Gyang and produced by EbonyLife Films. The film will be followed by a high-level panel discussion on sex trafficking and a reception. This event has been jointly supported by the Embassies of Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United States as well as FIIAPP and UN Women.
In these unprecedented times of crisis due to Covid-19, we have taken the difficult decision to close our office in Turin to protect our staff and beneficiaries, but we continue to offer active support in terms of signposting and accessing relevant services and can be reached by email or over the phone.
In Nigeria we are supporting correct messaging of the crisis amongst vulnerable people. Some of the women we support have sewn face masks and prepared home made disinfectants that we are distributing to those who cannot afford to buy them. We have also purchased various food items, which we are distributing to indigent families, widows, and other vulnerable groups, and continue to fundraise to keep this service going. You can see some pictures of our distribution in the gallery.
Iroko and its beneficiaries are far from alone in this struggle, as outlined in thisMigrant Women Press article on how migrant women in particular are affected.
This documentary is a particularly challenging watch, but it’s a necessary one. Try not to fall into the trap of dismissing the phenomenon of trafficking as something that happens ‘somewhere else’, but recognise the clear theme among all women trafficked and prostituted around the world: women and girls don’t choose prostitution. Prostitution chooses them. As Lauran Bethell puts it, “trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerability”, something which is ever-present in prostitution, whether on the streets of Bangkok, in a posh hotel room in Las Vegas, or in a brothel in Amsterdam.
“Even the people who promote prostitution will put out helpful fact sheets on how to avoid getting killed. They don’t say it exactly that way, but they put out a fact sheet that says:
-When you go into a hotel room when you’re servicing a john, drop something on the floor and kick it under the bed, so you can look under the bed to see if there’s a gun or handcuffs there -Don’t wear a scarf because that can be used to strangle you -Don’t wear super high heels to an escort out-call because you can’t run fast enough
This is information coming from people that are promoting prostitution as a good job.”
Can you think of any job or profession where these kinds of tactics are necessary to avoid physical violence and even death?
Why does prostitution continue, even thrive, in our modern ‘enlightened’ societies where we claim to protect human rights above all else? Money. It’s as simple as that. By legalising, or even just turning a blind eye, to prostitution, we are not protecting a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. We are protecting a man’s right to buy a woman. And as long as there are men willing and able to pay money for women and girls, there will be organised crime networks trafficking and selling them.
That leads us to the solution. Block the business model. By criminalising both the pimps and the everyday buyers in prostitution, while offering support and exit services to the prostituted women, the abolitionist model essentially creates a very, very bad business environment for pimps and johns. Traffickers and pimps see Sweden, where this model is implemented, as a bad market. It also has a social implication in the way that people view and value women, creating “an atmosphere of safety, an atmosphere of dignity in the country.”
Sweden has the lowest rate of trafficking in the European Union.
IF YOU WANT TO STOP TRAFFICKING YOU MUST STOP PROSTITUTION
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. Read More
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).
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.
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.
Executive Director of Iroko Onlus
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.