The Edo State Government on Monday extended its campaign against Irregular Migration and Human Trafficking to a cross section of students in Benin City.
This campaign is being led by the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Anti Human Trafficking Issues, Solomon Okoduwa who took it to Oba Ewuare Grammar School, Oko Central in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
Mr Okoduwa warned the students not to fall victim of the prowling human traffickers.
He said human traffickers capitalize on students’ innocence and vulnerability to traffick them using trusted persons.
In his words, “They could use your parents/guardians, friends or even your religious leaders to deceive you.” Okoduwa emphasised.
“The traffickers or their agents make unrealistic promises to attract you. Every trafficker knows that if they tell you the truth you will not want to go, they rather make great promises. They tell your parents beautiful things. They tell you, you’ll work in supermarkets whereas it is prostitution they intend to introduce you into. They tell you, you will get to Europe in two days whereas they’re taking you through the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea and eventually get to Europe after two months to two years as the case maybe.
“Many have been reportedly missing or dead while travelling through the unauthorized routes. Some of their (victims) organs including kidneys and other vital parts have been harvested in connivance with their sponsors. Many others are imprisoned. They only tell you success stories.”
EduCeleb.com reports that Edo State is the leading state from which victims of illegal transatlantic and trans-Saharan migration hail from.
Last May, Governor Obaseki signed the Edo State Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Law 2018. This law seeks to provide an effective and comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of human trafficking and related offences in the state.
This specific effort of the state government is even targeted at one of the schools where a number of past students have been victims of trafficking.
The highly interactive session saw the students of the school asking germane questions and vowing to report anyone who woos them to their teachers.
As part of the session, a video documentary focused on the dangers of illegal migration was played before the audience. Okoduwa noted that the documentary will henceforth be played every Thursday at the school to further educate the students on the dangers of irregular migration and human trafficking.
The Governor’s aide also informed the students that the Anti Human Trafficking Club, which will have some of them as members, will be inaugurated in the school at the first quarter of 2019 with the support of RuthChild Foundation, an Nongovernmental Organisation (NGO) working in the area of human trafficking and child labour.
Meanwhile, the Principal of the school at Junior Secondary School level, Mrs Oni Ogunbor commended Edo State Government and the campaigners for extending the sensitisation exercise to the school.
The students were later given flyers, stickers and CDs containing 30 minute documentary exposing the illegal activities of traffickers and efforts of government at arresting them.