In Italy, AfroLife findings reveal that girls as young as 18 are still being trafficked into the country for prostitution
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki during a recent TV programme asserted that human trafficking in the state has been tackled by his administration and boasted the problem was more or less non-existent. The Governor’s statement did not go down well with some members of the Edo diaspora. Days after the programme aired, AfroLife checks revealed that the Governor claims were far from the truth.

In Italy, AfroLife findings reveal that girls as young as 18 are still being trafficked into the country for prostitution. The situation is not different with their male counterparts, it is a common sight to see young boys in their late teens and early 20s from Edo State roaming aimlessly about major cities and towns of Italy. The Coronavirus pandemic hasn’t deterred the traffickers.

Sadly, the whole human trafficking syndrome in Edo has been politicised so much that lies now fly as truth. Governor Godwin Obaseki and his estranged godfather Adams Oshiomhole, have grounded the act of governance to a halt in the state because of their personal quests to dictate its political tunes. They are not bothered about the young lives which are daily being trafficked out of the state.

In fact human trafficking in Edo State is a none issue in the run to the election in September which has become a do or die matter between Obaseki, Oshiomhole and Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu who is also in the running to be fielded as a candidate by the ruling Action Progressive Congress, APC, in that election. Ize-Iyamu was a one time secretary to the government of Lucky Igbinedion who failed to address the human trafficking problem. So, it is surprising that Ize-Iyamu is not even bothered about the issue.

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki
Before the lockdown in Nigeria in April, people were still being trafficked out of the state. In Napoli, which has become a sort of haven for newly arrived trafficked young men and women from the state, a community leader there confided in AfroLife that trafficked young people who took off early in the year from Edo through the North African route were among hundreds of the newly arrived to be found in the city and its environs.

At a job centre in Latina in the Lazio Region of Italy, AfroLife correspondent encountered four young men who gave their state of origin as Edo. While not divulging the route through which they entered the country, they however disclosed they departed Nigeria early in the year and arrived Italy in May.

Young boys and girls trafficked from the state are also arriving other Europeans cities in their droves. France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, are popular destinations for the trafficked boys and girls. The United Arab Emirate and the Lebanon routes have also seen astronomical rise in the number of trafficked persons from Edo State in recent times.

Of the 50 trafficked Nigerian women rescued from Lebanon recently, some were from Edo State. The UN says thousands of women and girls from Nigeria and other African countries are trafficked every year. They are often lured away with promises of jobs in Europe or Asia, but usually end up being exploited as domestic maids or forced into prostitution.

Julie Okah-Donli, the head of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Naptip), said 20,000 Nigerian girls were trafficked to Mali and forced into prostitution last year. Majority of them are from Edo State. Ms Okah-Donli said the agency was working with the foreign ministry to repatriate citizens who had been trafficked.

Julie Okah-Donli heads Naptip