Edo secures conviction of 7 human traffickers, 47 others undergoing prosecution

The Edo State Government has restated its commitment to ending the scourge of human trafficking and illegal migration in the state, noting that the government has so far secured the conviction of seven human traffickers with 47 others undergoing prosecution.

The Executive Secretary of Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, Itohan Okungbowa, disclosed this at a press conference ahead of the International Community Unites programme to support the campaign against sex trafficking in Nigeria with the screening of ‘Oloture,’ held at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, Benin City.

Okungbowa said the government has recorded a huge success in the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration since the onset of the Taskforce in 2017, noting that the government is sustaining efforts to totally eradicate the scourge in Edo.

According to her, “We commend the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, for the establishment of the body in 2017 as it has fought tremendously to reduce the scourge of human trafficking in the State.

“The government in combating the scourge accepted that there was a problem and this has helped in tackling the issue heads on. Presently, we have been able to convict seven persons who were engaged in human trafficking in the State, while 47 other cases are in Court.

“The governor has used his political will to confront the problem head-on and today we all are celebrating as Edo State is no longer used as an example when it comes to human trafficking and prostitution in Nigeria.”

On his part, the Executive Director of the Coalition for the abolition of prostitution, Jonathan Machler called on the Nigerian government to adopt the Abolitionist/Sankara Equality Model which decriminalizes and reintegrates the victims of prostitution and trafficking through psychosocial support, while penalizing their exploiters.

Machler said there must be collaborative efforts by nations around the world to eliminate prostitution while protecting prostituted women.

He added, “We should adopt the Sankara equality model which decriminalizes and reintegrates the victims of prostitution and trafficking through psychosocial support while penalizing their exploiters; the pimps, traffickers, and of course the sex buyers who are the only reason for the exploitation of women in prostitution.”

The Executive Director noted, “We hope this is the path Nigeria will take if the government wishes to protect the most marginalized women and effectively combat the trafficking and pimp network.”