Sexual exploitation, forced labour top report on Lagos shelter homes

A cross section of participants at the gender audit report organised by Cleen foundation

A Non-governmental organisation, Cleen Foundation, has stated that sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most prevalent forms of trafficking in persons and forced migration.

It added that while an estimate of one in three women experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime, which is a common feature of human trafficking, this undermines the health of victims, including sexual and reproductive health consequences, from continuous abortions and sexually transmitted diseases.

This was disclosed at its public presentation of findings on the gender audit report of shelters and safe homes in Lagos, with focus on preventing forced migration and trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria to build resilience and promote sustainable development.

In attendance were representatives from the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Ministry of Youth and Social Development and civil society organisations (CSOs).

Speaking at the event, Executive Director of the Foundation, Benson Ougbuo, said findings from the reports show that there is no known uniform referral mechanisms, guidelines or data collation template in the state, even though the national monitoring centre, domiciled with NAPTIP exist, as awareness and access of its existence are limited.

The audit also revealed that some organisations, CSOs in particular, are not conversant with guidelines on national referral mechanisms for protection and assistance to trafficked persons in Nigeria and the national labour migration policy of 2014, with security agencies are better informed in this regard.

There is also limited knowledge of the provisions and implementation of the revised 2015 Trafficking in Persons, Enforcement and Administration Act, which is critical to strengthening the technical capacity of all frontline protection service providers and provide specific gender training on trafficking and forced migration.

Consultant on the gender audit project and lawyer, Emmanuela Azu, said from the findings, there was an urgent need to strengthen gender specific protection service rendered to women and girls who are victims of trafficking and forced migration.

Pointing at limited financial resources available to service providers, she stressed the need for holistic coordination and mechanism guidelines at state level to enhance the quality of services to victims, adding: “There should be specilaised skills to meet the needs of victims for justice, safety, medical, psychosocial support, safe home/shelter and skills acquisition.”

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