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COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS visits Imo NAPTIP Office

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Today being 5th of August 2021 The Imo state command for National Agency For Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), under the leadership of commander Ernest Ogbu recieved in audience the coalition of civil society organizations under the umbrella of Imo state committee on ending violence against women in Imo state led by alliance for Africa.

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The coordinator representing their Director said the aim of the visit is to formally identify with NAPTIP Imo state Command and synergize with her in the areas of investigation and prosecution of offenders of violence against persons and human trafficking as well as collation of data and prevention of theses crimes by way of Sensitization in Imo State, initiation programmes to educate the citizens and residents in Imo State on NAPTIP provisions and to partner with Imo State Committee on ending Violence Against Women and Girls to work towards Eradicating Human Trafficking in Imo State.

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She further frowned at the high incidences of human trafficking cases in the State including organ harvest of able bodied youths in the State and wants NAPTIP Imo Command to bring in new innovations that will aid in ending Violence Against Women and Children. She suggested that victims rescued should not only be kept in a safe place but also be enrolled into a skill acquisition program to keep them from being re-trafficked or even the victim going back to where they were rescued from.

In his response, Mr Ernest Ogbu welcomed the team and appreciated and commended their spirit of oneness in fighting TIP to better the Imolites
The Commander while appreciating AFA for championing this cause made them know that TIP is a chain of organized crime that is globally recognized and thus needs full support of all stakeholders.
Mr Ernest made them know that Imo State has been on the Agency’s radar as one of the most endemic States in TIP but operationally, the new Command can do little or nothing unless it is fully established oo rationally
He finally adviced them to get NAPTIP involved in their activities for a stronger synergy.

In her contribution, Mrs Marjorie Ezihe, the AFA Coordinator expressed dissatisfaction with ongoing investigation and prosecution of cases of Trafficking and violence against Persons in the State by relevant State Actors and suggested the need to streamline duties and activities especially on gender based violence to enable those involved to know their areas of specialities. This she said will help experts in different areas do their jobs without interference.

Dr Mrs Azubuike added that there is need for a robust and aggressive approach towards tackling TIP in the State since the crime is escalating .
She also said that the rate at which young girls ranging from 12 to 16 years are being forced into prostitution in Imo State is alarming and requires urgent attention, hence the need to investigate and raid some of the brothels and rescue some trapped girls is highly necessary.
According to Mrs Oby, Child Labour/exploitation is also very rampant in the State. She suggested the need for a well defined agreement/arrangement between the people involved in giving out children as domestic helpers , to help curb the issue of Child Abuse/ Child Labour and Expliotation in the State.
She finally adviced NAPTIP not to relent in their duties even though the work may be enormous but we will surmount it at the end.

Adding to Dr Azubuike’s contributions, Mrs Daberechi called for a collaborative effort from all stakeholders to see that a safe place is created by the Government of Imo State for all the victims of abuse in the State .

Mrs Ukah of Human Rights expressed her joy at the establishment of NAPTIP in Imo State. She commended the Imo NAPTIP Commander for his zeal and determination towards his job. She encourages the commander not to be deterred even though Imo State is highly endemic in TIP cases and so needs to be tackled aggressively.
She frowned at the rate of Human Right’s Violations in the State and said it’s only the intervention of spirited people that can redeem the State to its lost glory.

Mr Udochukwu in his contribution expressed joy at the level of commitment shown by all the members but said that some influential people in the State are sabotaging their efforts and its discouraging and frustrating. He finally calls for urgent solution to that effect in other to move forward.

The Director AFA said that the issue of TIP is deeply rooted and it needs behavioral change and orientation among people to be able to tackle it. According to her the End Violence Against Women and Children which was initially projected towards 2030 has been extended to 2040 due to the high increase in the number of the crime on a daily basis.

She said that VAPP is yet to be signed into law in Imo State and it is a big challenge for them .
The Director called for the need to have an open registry where defaulters name will be published as this will serve as a deterrent for other perpetrators and also to help reduce crime in the State. She adviced NAPTIP Imo Command to involve AFA in their activities and engagements as this will help build a stronger bond between the two bodies.

Replying to some of the contributions made, the Commander told the team that there is a limit to what he can do as he is presently not fully operational, no office nor shelter, no holding cells, no operational vehicle and these are a big challenge for him. He said that he has been able to engage the media in all his activities in the State to help make his presence known by Government and stakeholders and
urged all the members to take reports back to their various heads in other to effect a drastic change/action.

The Commander allayed their fears and pledged commitment to a goid and harmonious working relationship.

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