By Aisha Cole, Lagos.
The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) says it has conducted free medical outreach for 100 victims of human trafficking to enable them to live healthy and achieve their dreams.
The Head of Region of ICMPD for West Africa, Dr Mojisola Sodeinde, said this at a Joint Capacity Building Workshop for Shelter Operators and Service Providers with Medical Outreach for 100 Human Trafficking Victims between Nigeria and Niger held in Lagos on Sunday.
Sodeinde, who was represented by the Programme Assistant of CIMPD, Adeniyi Bakre, said that they also trained no fewer than 60 women on protection of referral mechanism of trafficking human beings.
She explained that 100 victims of human trafficking were able to enjoy the free medical outreach to enable them remain healthy to achieve their desired goals.
She said that the caregivers were trained on how to help the victims to maintain their dignity and rights, while avoiding being traumatised.
“The training is to ensure that the caregivers care for the victims better and allow them live a fulfilled life.
“The activities are implemented under the framework of the project, “Strengthening Niger-Nigeria Cooperation on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings”, funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“The activities were implemented by International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and its counterpart, the Nigerien National Agency for the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Trafficking of Migrants (ANLTP/TIM).
“In May 2022, at the 5th in the series of the Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) Meeting held in Lagos between the two countries, the protection and repatriation sub-committee developed a Harmonised Joint Standard Operating Procedures.
“It was referred to as Bilateral Referral Mechanism (BRM) for Protection and Assistance to Trafficked Persons between Niger and Nigeria,” she said.
Sodeinde said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and BRM were signed between the two countries to address perceptible problems and challenges, including Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS and Pelvic Sodeinde, Inflammatory Disease.
She said that other problems to be addressed included hepatitis, tuberculosis, skin infections, communicable diseases, mental and psychosocial as well as health disorders, including nightmares, insomnia, suicidal tendencies, alcoholism, drug abuse and addiction.
She commended the Netherlands for providing them with funds to enable them to acquire the drugs and other materials needed for the execution of the programme.
In her contributions, the Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Lagos Zone, Mrs Comfort Agboko, commended the Netherlands Government for supporting the 100 Nigerian victims of trafficking with the medical outreach and donations.
Agboko thanked ICMPD for implementing the programme by engaging no fewer than 60 caregivers at a two-day enlightenment and education workshop.
“We had over 100 human trafficking victims, sheltered by NAPTIP and some NGOS in Lagos, who came to benefit from the free medical outreach.
“There were five doctors from Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) who examined them before giving them drugs according to their illness,” Agboko said.
The Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State chapter, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, said that NAPTIP had invited them to attend to victims of trafficking, adding that they had been able to help many of the victims to remain healthy.
“Some of the victims we attended to are having mental stress, physical stress, emotional stress and health issues, which we have come to help them to alleviate.
“There is an integration of health care in the support for the victims.
“We have seen some ladies and children that are having medical issues and we have been able to solve with the help of different medical experts such as psychiatrists and gynaecologists,” he said.
Olowojebutu underscored the need to pay more attention to the women, saying that several of the victims had infections resulting from bad toilet habits and lack of personal hygiene.
He urged NAPTIP to continue the collaboration to ensure improvement in standard operating procedure for repatriation for victims of trafficking to avoid mental stress.
Responding, Victim Asaid she was rescued from sexual harassment adding that she was having emotional stress and appreciated ICMPD for the free drugs and counselling.
Victim B appreciated NAPTIP and ICIMPD, saying she was a domestic servant at Iyana-Ipaja but had to run away due to constant maltreatment by her boss.
She said that NAPTIP rescued and sent her to school and now, she was in SS3 and about to write her WAEC examination.
On her part, Victim C, who travelled to Mali through human trafficking routes for one month and some weeks, was rescued with the help of NAPTIP.
She thanked all the organisers and the doctors who gave them medical attention.
She said she was also happy that they were given many gifts with the support of ICMPD.