The New Apostolic Centre for Development (NCD) has said that about 1,079 persons have reported cases of human trafficking and Gender Based Violence to the Edo State Sexual Assault Referral Centre, otherwise known as the Vivian Centre to seek redress.

Victor Oriakhi, board member of the Non-Governmental Organization based in Benin City, Edo state said at a press briefing that the reports were made between the months of June and November 2022.

He said the body was implementing the Agents for Transformation Programme project funded by the European Union in the state to increase awareness on the danger of trafficking in persons with a view to improving response level to sexual and gender based violence in the state by victims.

Oriakhi, who noted that before the commencement of the implementation of the programme in June, 2022 , the number of victims that approached the Vivian centre for justice was 600.

He said by November 24, 2022 when the project closed out, the number of cases reported at the centre rose to 1,079 which showed a significant leap in response level by citizens to the twin vices.

He added that some of the victims confirmed that they knew of the centre from the Radio programme being sponsored by NCD.

Oriakhi who disclosed that since June the NCD had handled two cases, added that one of the cases was referred to the Vivian Centre while the other was referred to the Edo State Ministry of Justice.

According to him, NCD training and extensive public awareness activities have led to more citizens accessing the Edo State Sexual Referral Centre (Vivian Centre) to report Gender Based Violence cases.

“Record obtained from the Vivian centre showed that the centre recorded more cases between June and November, 2022 when NCD implemented the preventing human trafficking and responding to gender based violence initiative in Edo State.

“As we speak, NCD’s radio jingle is still running on KU FM, Benin City between 7:56 am and 4:56 pm daily, and it will be till about early January 2023”, he said.

While noting that the European Union funded programme was implemented by the British Council in Nigeria, Mr Oriakhi added that the body’s anti-trafficking and Gender based violence response messages have reached millions of people in Edo State and other part of the world.

The NCD board member, further explained that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has also confirmed that it haa received more cases in their office on daily basis due to increased awareness raised on issues of human trafficking through NCD’s programme and that of other stakeholders.

He said the European Union funded Programme is implemented by the British Council of Nigeria

He, however, commended the British Council for making it possible for NCD to receive mentorship and funding through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation programme as well as European Union for providing the resources to fund the EU-ACT project in the state.