BENIN CITY- A Non-governmental organization, CLEEN Foundation on Friday faulted the existing laws and policies on human trafficking and forced migration, saying that they are ‘gender-blind’.
The foundation noted that the laws such as Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement and Administration Act,2015 among others are devoid of gender sensitivity required to reduce irregular migration and trafficking, and better response to the needs of rescued persons.
Speaking at a two-day capacity building workshop for community-based women led organisations in Benin City, Benson Olugbuo, Executive Director of the foundation said in a bid to enable gender-sensitive policy environment, they launched a project in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP).
Olugbuo, who was represented by Ruth Olofin, programme manager, CLEEN said the project, which has progressed to building capacity for community-based women, was targeted at understanding the existing legal frameworks and enhancing the communication skills of women at the grassroot to help in the fight against human trafficking and forced migration of women in the state.
The executive director said over 50 women led organizations selected from the 18 council areas in Edo State were equipped with the requisite skills to engage their local structures through enlightenment campaigns towards curbing human trafficking in their communities.
“The women led organisations in the grassroot are uniquely placed to prevent human trafficking and forced migration in their communities given their understanding of the local context, and having native knowledge of predisposing factors that encourage and allow human trafficking and forced migration to thrive.
“The Nigeria government in a bid to strengthen the institutional framework to tackle the issues of human trafficking and forced migration, enacted a number of legislations, namely, Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement and Administration Act, National Labour Migration Policy, 2014 and the National Policy on Migration, 2015, the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, (VAPP) 2015, among others.
“These legislations and policies have been made in response to address gender and non-gender related crimes in Nigeria. However, a cursory review of some of the laws, policies and protection services on trafficking and migration indicate that they are gender blind”, he said.
Earlier, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, Director General National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), said the agency has been in the forefront in the fight against human trafficking through prevention, empowerment of rescued persons and prosecution of offenders.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim, represented by Ijeoma Uduak, zonal commander, NAPTIP, Benin zonal command urged the participants to work with their local structures in helping them understand the dangers of human trafficking and how to deal with it.
On his part, Innocent Edemhanria, a facilitator said, “Women led organizations are participating in the workshop to learn strategies on how to advocate for issues to the authorities that can aid in the prevention of forced migration and trafficking.
Roseline Okosun, a participant said the training would help women led organisations learn more ideas about human trafficking and forced migration.