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Religious Sisters of Charity Raises Awareness Against Human Trafficking

The Religious Sisters Charity (RSC), on Thursday held an anti-human trafficking seminar titled; “Advocacy Conversation on Human Trafficking” to curb the now global illicit business.

The collaborative awareness event with the Justice Development and Peace Commission, Catholic Diocese of Warri, National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Persons (NAPTIP), took place on Thursday March 30, 2023 at the Jubilee Retreat & Conference Centre, Effurun, Delta State.

Sr. Justina Suekime Nelson RSC, Cordinator of Anti-Human in the Congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity, Nigeria gave the opening remarks.

She welcomed the participants and gave the reason for having the program here in Warri. Delta State is also an endemic area of Human trafficking. She said that “human trafficking is a global crime and traffickers targets vulnerable people.

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“Many have fallen victims and our aim is to prevent more people from falling prey to traffickers. She told the participants they organised the program here inorder to sensitize the participants on the tactics and deceptive nature of traffickers and the consequences or trauma’s experienced by the survivors of human trafficking for the purpose of prevention. We desire that you share the knowledge gained with your friends and family members.”

The campaign targeted young people and was attended by Pupils and students from Catholic Uvwie Creche Nursery and Primary School, Effurun; Okotogbo Primary School, Effurun; Ogbe Primary School Effurun, and Our Lady’s High School, Effurun.

At the event Sr. Gloria educated participants on the need to Safeguard themselves from the perpetrators of human trafficking through proactive education on: human trafficking, gender based violence and Irregular migration.

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Trafficking in Person is a conversation everyone should be interested and get involved to end the menace in our society. As it robs humanity its essence of existence.

Guest speakers at the event were Barr. Mrs. Nwanze Ijeoma, Ag. Secretary Delta State Taxforce on Human Trafficking and Head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit Ministry of Justice and Joan Ojiewa; Head Public Enlightenment Unit Benin Zonal Command.

Speaking on the topic “Gender-Based Violence and Irregular Migration”, Ijeoma defined GBV as an act of ” violence not against a person because of his or her sex or gender but a violence against someone’s will through cohesion, threat, cultural exploitations, deception or economic means.”

She further explained it”as an act of violence that affects a person or persons of a particular gender. That is violence against human rights. It includes all arms of gender-based violence that result to or likely result in physical harm, sexual harm, physical harm, psychological harm, economic harm, and suffering to that individual.

“Women and girls are usually more affected by it. Although we also have males; both children and adult males. We have cases of men who come to report their wives. So we are encouraging not just the women but the men also to speak.”

Referencing the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP), passed in 2020, the guest speaker said “The State Government is interested in this law. GBV could be domestic (mothers, fathers, children, brothers aunties).

“However, there is a law that prohibits this act of violence against persons that also protects victims.

“Types of gender-based violence physical, which includes beating, strangling, pushing, use of weapons or any form of substance or attack on the person, breaking, female circumcision, forced marriage (particular age or particular spouse)

“Forceful eviction. When a woman’s husband dies. Both offender and accomplice will suffer two years imprisonment and N300,000 fine according to section 13.

“Section 7 of VAPP Law says five years imprisonment and one million fine for both doer and accomplice.

“For female circumcision (section 10) both the offender and accomplice for years imprisonment and N500,000 fine.

“Spousal beating violates section 22 of VAPP law. Both offender and Accomplice suffer three years imprisonment and N500,000 fine.

“Restraining law. These children or adults are always locked up inside a house. It offends section 13. Offenders suffer three years imprisonment and a N500,000 fine.

“Human ill-treatment of widows. This is any form of harmful traditional practices. It violates section 23. Offenders suffer three years imprisonment five hundred thousand naira fine.

“Attack of substance, e.g acid, chemical, drugs, etc. It violates section 4 of the law. Offenders suffer 2 years imprisonment with no fine.

“Types of Sexual Based Violence
Unconcented– Any sexual act to attain a sexual act of trafficking without a person’s consent. A child under the law is any below 18 years; they can’t give consent). This act of violence can be verbal and nonverbal sexual assault, abuse, or exploitation.

“Nudity and indecency is an offense under the law. Others include touching, inciting, and robbing.

“Rape is also an offense under the law. It is a penetration into any opening of the human body (ears, mouth, sexual organs) without consent. Offenders of this law suffer life imprisonment and 12 years imprisonment for child offenders according to section 4.

“Psychological or Mental Violence– These are not physical but usually constant, continuous, and consistent. This can cause mental default.”

The speaker cited cohesion, blackmail, jealousy, humiliation, intimidation, threatening, scapegoating, shaming, isolation, manipulation, stocking, Neglecting, and Gasfigthing as examples of this act of violence.

She added that the “Economic Abuse” act of violence was mostly domestic. This includes controlling bank accounts, acts of spending, destruction of documents, etc. The offender (s) of this act was liable to 3-year imprisonment with a three hundred thousand fine following the section 15 Act.

On her part, Ojiewa spoke on the role of NAPTIP in human trafficking, defining it as “a movement of persons by an act of deception adoption for the purpose of exploitation.”

Trafficking, she said, could be internal and external and also entails the smuggling of migrants.

Ojiewa explained traffickers have three core elements for their victims which were the Act ( what is done), Means ( How it is done), and Purpose ( Exploitation).

The HUC stated trafficking could be caused by poverty, peer group influence, ignorance, poor economy, etc.

Notwithstanding, the speaker said, NAPTIP’s role in curbing this illicit business was to investigate, track cohobate and rehabilitate human traffickers.

Other stakeholders at the event were the Head of the Department Community Development, Uvwie Local Government Council; Executive Secretary Primary Health Centre, Uvwie Local Government Council; Head of Department, Education Uview Local Government Council and Divisional Police Headquarters, Enerhen, Delta State.

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