Sr. Justina Nelson RSC is engaged in anti–human trafficking awareness raising in Warri Diocese in Delta State, Nigeria. Human trafficking is getting worse in the State as traffickers are taking advantage of the poverty and hardship caused by the economic recession affecting everyone. They are moving more to the interior and remote villages and even the city dwellers are not spared. Most young women, even though some of them have heard about human trafficking, seemed not to be convinced and are still lured away.
Parents sometimes encourage their daughters to travel knowing full well that a young and uneducated woman will not get a decent job in Europe. In most cases, traffickers instruct their victims not to tell anyone, even their parents. They were advised not to carry any luggage in order not attract attention.
Many parents are mourning now for their daughters, whom they have not heard from since they travelled while a few have called their families, crying all the time while speaking with them. The sad thing is that two of these girls did not know which country they were taken to. One of them said that she was in Italy but the number, she used to communicate was a Libyan number. That number is no longer available.
The main activity that Sr Justina is involved in is awareness raising and sensitization. She has also had three cases that needed rehabilitation and prosecution. She is anticipating more rehabilitation cases because those who are becoming aware through the awareness programme are angry with the Government, the structures that have created poverty and the greed of the people concerned. Sr Justina is encouraging the victims and survivors to come out and share their stories with those willing to listen so that others could learn from their experiences.
A visit was made to the Orodje (King) of Okpe Kingdom. Sr Justina went with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) officers from Benin, Edo State, the zone covering Edo and Delta States. The Orodje was very welcoming and supportive. He promised to invite us to the Palace during a meeting with all the chiefs in his kingdom which covers two Local Government areas of Sapele and Okpe.
Awareness raising was carried out in both Secondary and primary schools in Sapele, Orerokpe and Ethiope East Local Governments. There is much to be done, but it is wonderful; that the RSCs can work in collaboration with NAPTIP.