BENIN CITY- An NGO, CLEEN Foundation has harped on the need to prevent forced migration and trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria in order to build a resilient and promote sustainable development.

Speaking at the Public Dissemination of the Foundation’s findings on the Gender Audit Report of Shelters and Safe Homes in Edo State, the Executive Director of the foundation, Benson Olugbuo, said that the primary objective of the report was to enable a gender sensitive policy environment that addressed forced migration and trafficking and increase gender sensitive information and awareness-raising in source migration trafficking sites.

She said: ” The Project also seek to support and strengthen the gender-responsiveness of interventions of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other relevant government agencies.

“The Public Dissemination of Findings on the Gender Audit Report of safe homes and trafficking shelters resonate perfectly with the 16 days of activism currently being observed globally.

“The focus for the 2020 Global 16 Days Campaign is to increase efforts and amplify the voices of women in the informal economy while continuing to end all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in public and private spaces.

“Human trafficking, which mostly involves women and girls is a form of gender based violence and must be stamped out from our communities and the 16 Days of Activism is a call to action to end the destructive impact of Gender-Based Violence in our communities.

“GBV is a pervasive threat that survives through harmful gender norms and silence, and which has exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and women and girls remain disproportionately impacted by GVB at a disturbing rate.

“An estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime and GBV which is a common feature of human trafficking, undermines the health and autonomy of Victims of trafficking/survivors and often contribute to a lifetime of negative outcomes”.

The Executive Director who was represented at the event by the Program Manager, Mrs. Ruth Olofin, however, stated that the summary of the gender Audit findings indicated that there is lack of coordination and collaboration amongst all service frontline providers, duplications of roles, lack of central disaggregated data statistics on trafficking and forced migration

Mrs. Olofin added that “Limited knowledge and technical expertise on trafficking in persons in Edo State”, adding that CSOs, Ministry of Social Development and Gender issues, Youths and Sports, Justice, and the Edo State Taskforce are the key stakeholders that needs strengthening according to the findings.

In his goodwill message, the NAPTIP Director General represented by Edo Zonal Commander, Mrs. Ijeoma Uduak, commended CLEEN Foundation for the report which he said will good a long way to boosting the awareness of the people on trafficking shelters, adding that safe homes and Frontline Service Providers and access to their services in state would be improved on by the Report.

Also speaking, the Force Gender Coordinator and Advisor to the Inspector General of Police, DCP Margret Ochalla, represented by DSP Pheobe Makkah, while commending CLEEN Foundation for the report said that to deal with forced migration and trafficking of women and girls in the country, there is need for synergy and inter-agency collaborations amongst security agencies, Health, Judiciary and Civil Society Organisations.

Others who spoke at the one day event include the Edo State Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mrs. Ijeoma Uduak, representatives of CSOs in the state.