The UK Aid in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), officially launched Nigeria’s first ever initiative aimed at reducing the number of overseas sex trafficking victims from Edo & Delta states, at a VIP event held at the Sheraton Abuja and attended by esteemed guests including; Director General of NAPTIP Dame Julie Okah-Donli, John Primrose, the Deputy Head of Office, Department for International Development (DFID) Nigeria, representing Her Excellency, Catriona Laing CB, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria and Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.
The event held to inspire, enable and empower young women in Edo and Delta states to find success on their own terms without paying the terrible price paid by so many others, who look for success abroad, was hosted by television favourite Bolanle Olukanni. An engaging and interactive discussion session involved esteemed panellists and speakers including; Yinka Omorogbe, Attorney General & Justice Minister for Edo State, Evon Idahosa, Founder of Pathfinders Justice Initiative, Tunde Oderinde, DFID-MADE Team Leader and Tim Singleton, Director of Communications, DFID.
Statistics report that approximately 80% of Nigerian women who take the dangerous journey overseas end up being trafficked and forced into prostitution. The Not For Sale initiative thus provides these women with the support services that enables them to seek out training and opportunities in their home land Nigeria.
Speaking at the Event, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, Director General of NAPTIP, applauded the collaborative efforts between NAPTIP and the UK Aid in driving positive conversations through the ‘Not for Sale’ campaign, an initiative which is making immeasurable impact in the fight against modern slavery issues as it affects vulnerable persons especially young women in the country”.
Dame Julie also used the medium to urge the various state governments in Nigeria to “empower women in rural areas, via effective skill acquisition programs which will ensure they earn good living and in turn, impact their communities positively”.
The event also revealed inspiring short videos of trafficked survivors recounting tales of hardship, torture and abuse whilst travelling through illegal routes to a supposed better life abroad. Gift Oje Jonathan who was one of such women, made it only as far as Libya but chose to return to Nigeria and has since leveraged opportunities such as the Not For Sale initiative in finding success as a baker.
Speaking at the Event, Gift Oje Jonathan commended the “efforts of NAPTIP in enlightening and empowering young women within the society on the need to believe in themselves and engage in worthwhile activities and programmes to be better equip them for the larger society”. Also adding that initiatives like ‘Not for Sale’ should be sought after as one which shines a light on the need for self-empowerment and belief in local development rather than a false promise of a so called better life abroad”.