BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Edo State Government is set to embark on a state-wide tracking of members of the human trafficking cartels in the state including religious leaders and other individuals aiding the illegal trade.
The government also said that part of the strategies to halt the menace of human trafficking include the development of a new social studies curriculum for students and an economic empowerment programme.
Others are reintegration and counselling programmes and public enlightenment campaigns to markets and streets among others.
Speaking with journalists in Government House in Benin City, Chairman, Edo State Strategic Planning Team, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, said the initiatives are in support of the Edo State Taskforce on Anti-Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, which is leading the effort to reintegrate returnees from Libya and coordinating the state’s campaign to curb trafficking in persons.
“Governor Obaseki’s administration is giving the issue of human trafficking the kind of priority it deserves by ensuring efforts are made to put a stop to the trend,” Ihonvbere said.
“Part of our programme is to include campaign against human trafficking in the social studies curriculum in schools. The state government is also making efforts to track traffickers and native doctors, who are enriching themselves with the illicit trade,” Ihonvbere said, adding that the state government has commenced public enlightenment campaigns on the issue, which is holding in markets and other public places across the state. He assured that the campaign trail will soon get to schools when they are in session, stressing that the governor has enlisted religious leaders to take the message to their members.
According to him, “there is need to educate the people, especially children in schools on the dangers of human trafficking and embarking on dangerous journeys across the desert and on the high sea. Part of our programme is to include campaign against human trafficking in the social studies curriculum in schools. The state government is also making efforts to track traffickers and native doctors, who are enriching themselves with the illicit trade.
Other strategies he said, include the state government’s policy to welcome back returnees and organising counselling and reintegration programmes.”
Prof. Ihonvbere added that the government is also training the returnees and has provided empowerment packages like start-up capital and packs for those interested in starting business.
He, however, urged stakeholders, including the Federal Government, philanthropists and international agencies, to join hands with the state government to address the menace.
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN