NAPTIP, ICMPD engage stakeholders on schools anti-trafficking advocacy

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By Yetunde Fatungase

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) have engaged stakeholders on how to stop human trafficking among school children.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ workshop on Friday, Mojisola Sodeinde, Head of West Africa Region, ICMPD, said that the project sought to support the Nigerian government in five targeted states, which include Edo, Delta, Enugu, Benue and Ogun.

She said that the project would prevent and combat human trafficking, targeting school children from ages six to 16.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project, tagged, “Baseline Report on Validation of the Schools Anti-trafficking Education and Advocacy Project (STEAP)” was held on Friday in Abeokuta.

Represented by Rhoda Dia-Johnson, the Project Manager of STEAP, Sodeinde said that the the four-year project is funded by the government of the Netherlands and would run till 2027.

“The project is generally geared toward the prevention of human trafficking to awareness creation, targeting the school community.

“The collective goal of all stakeholders is to embed a strong educational framework in schools to inform, protect and empower students,” she said.

According to her, it is important for the students to recognise the trend and empower them to be vigilant guardians of their future.

Sodeinde said that ICMPD had supported NAPTIP to infuse human trafficking concepts into the school curricula at primary and secondary school levels.

“The necessity of this project can not be overstated. With over 75 per cent of trafficking victims in West Africa being minors, the urgency of our mission is clear,” she said.

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In her remarks, Ogun NAPTIP State Commander, Abosede Jimoh, said that the roles of non-governmental organisations could not be overemphasised in the prevention and reduction of human trafficking.

She added that NGOs had constantly reported cases of perceived trafficking in their states, to reduce the menace to the barest minimum.

Earlier in his remarks, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Ogun, Mr Oluwashina Ogungbade, commended NAPTIP, ICMPD and other stakeholders for conceptualising and actualising the STEAP project, describing it as timely.

Ogungbade, represented by Tosin Ogundele, the Assistant Director of Citizens Rights Department, Ministry of Justice, Ogun, said that the intervention was not only timely but also important, given recent happenstance in the country.

“The issue of child trafficking has become a menace of global proportion and it is high time the menace was dealt with headlong.

“Anything negatively affecting our children, affects us all,” he said.

One of the participants, Mrs Doyinsola Adebayo, the Executive Director of Women, Infant and Children Care Initiative, a non-governmental organisation commended the organisers for the initiative.

She noted that the STEAP project, a preventive measure, would go a long way in curbing human trafficking in Ogun and in Nigeria as a whole. (NAN)

Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Tayo Ikujuni

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