By Fortune Abang
Mr Laurent De Boeck, Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Nigeria, has urged filmmakers to always prioritise creativity in their fight against human trafficking.
De Boeck who gave the advice in his address at the closing of IOM Nigeria’s 2023 Short Film Contest on ‘Combating Human Trafficking’ on Monday in Abuja, said doing so would ensure meaningful progress.
The IOM boss described films as medium for illustrating untold stories that could inspire, educate, foster dialogue, and create empathy among the public against human trafficking.
According to him, films have proven to be catalysts for guiding people even when they find themselves in complex situations, such as trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
De Boeck said, “As we honour winners of this contest, we recognise that their work extends far beyond the boundaries of the screen.
“These films have potential to educate, inform, and galvanise action.
“By participating in this contest, our filmmakers have become advocates, joining the ranks of those who stand against exploitation, inequality, and the violation of human dignity.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the jury members for taking their time to ensure a rigorous screening process to identify the winning entry.
“Your dedication to the fight against human trafficking is a beacon of hope, and your commitment throughout the process is truly commendable, you are the voices of change.
“Your creativity has power to shape perceptions, challenge norms, and inspire action, by sharing your stories, you contribute to a world where trafficking is not just headline but challenge that demands our collective attention.”
He said the choice of short film contest to stem trafficking is to engage the youth, who are most vulnerable population more meaningfully, when it comes to curbing the menace.
He said through such engagement, the youth could explore their creativity to fight and dismantle criminal networks that profit from exploitation of innocent lives, as well as to create a world where no one is left behind.
“The short films submitted to this contest are not just pieces of entertainment; they are windows into experiences of survivors, struggles of those who fight against trafficking, and resilience of communities coming together to create a safer world for all.
“Each film is testament to filmmakers’ dedication, empathy and unwavering commitment to making a difference about human trafficking as grave violation of human rights that affects millions of lives around the world, and Nigeria is no exception.
“In this daunting challenge, we derive inspiration in the power of art and storytelling, as we celebrate filmmakers who used their creativity, and vision to shed light on trafficking issue, provoke thought, and ignite conversations that drive real change.
“We must remind ourselves of the need to amplify our efforts in raising awareness about the ever-evolving tactics employed by human traffickers.
“These criminals target vulnerable groups, including migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons, and survivors of gender-based violence,” he added.
He mentioned that the short films submitted were piece of entertainment, experiences of survivors, struggles of those who fought against trafficking, and resilience of communities coming together to create a safer world for all.
He also said entries for the contest were reviewed by a committee that comprised experts on migration, counter trafficking, film and media from IOM, whereby four persons emerged winners from two categories that were official and popular vote categories.
Miss Letitia Osita-Obasi, Producer of Zanifa,emerged the First prize winner and Adeola Peregrino, Producer of Poached, won the Second prize.
Kings Shamaki, Producet of Halima, and Photographer, emerged third, while Efunshinle Akinwunmi, Producer of Net of shadow” and cinematographer , emerged winner for popular vote.
Highpoint of the event were remarks from Ms Anne Abok, International-Director, MeCHAT and Mr Oliver Stolpe, Representative of UNODC. (NAN)
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim