The Deputy speaker of the Edo State House of assembly, Rt.Hon.Mrs. Maria Edeko on Thursday expressed the resolve of the 8th assembly to support the creation of taskforce units to counter human trafficking menace in all the 18 local government councils in the state
Rt.Hon.Edeko made the disclosure when she received the executive members of Uromi Justice Development Peace and Caritas Initiatives ( JDPCI) in Benin, a non-governmental organization committed to the total eradication of the menace of human trafficking at the grassroots.
Combating the menace of human trafficking effectively at the grassroots, according to Rt.Hon.Mrs.Edeko required a
Wholelistic approach and a review of the Edo State trafficking in persons( Prohibition) law of 2018, the legal frame established by law to counter the menace of human trafficking .
According to her, the eight assembly will do everything within its legislative powers to support a review of the law whenever the need arises to include local response at the grassroot in order to ensure the sustainability of the fight against the menace.
“Edo State government in partnership with other relevant agencies have recorded remarkable achievements in the eradication of human trafficking as evidenced in the fact that Edo State is no longer the most endemic state in the federation as it were in the past.
“As a former chairman of FIDA (Federation of International Women lawyers) in the state, my colleagues and I were very instrumental in the drafting of the legal framework against human trafficking.
“However, there is an urgent need to review the law to accommodate the creation of a local response unit in order to counter human trafficking at the local government areas.
“This will promote the sustainability of efforts made by the Godwin Obaseki led administration in the eradication of the menace of human trafficking,” she said.
Edeko also advocated for the need to meaningfully engage the youths in the acquisition of skills through the establishment of skill acquisition centres across all the 18 local councils adding that concerted efforts would discourage vulnerable youths from being trafficked .
Speaking further, the Deputy speaker said government alone, in the face of scare
resources can not adequately undertake the full re-integration of victims of human trafficking into the society without the support of spirited organizations.
She added that, as a deterrent to discourage the menace, confiscated properties belonging to traffickers can be auctioned to compensate victims as enshrined in the law.
She however advised the executive members of JDPCI to either come up with a private member bill to the house or liase with the attorney general of the state who will in turn present their demand to the governor for consideration.
Earlier in his address, Dr.Fidelis Arhedo the Executive Director of Uromi Justice Development Peace and Caritas Initiatives said that their visit was to solicit the support of the deputy Speaker and the house on the need to review the state trafficking in persons (Prohibition) law of 2018.
Arhedo noted that the law should be reviewed to include the establishment of local response units to tackle the menace from the grassroot
According to him, the legal framework established to counter human trafficking had recorded considerable achievements within the state level.
” This is because the activities of the state taskforce against human trafficking in partnership with other relevant agencies are mainly restricted to urban centres hence the need to replicate the establishment of the taskforce in all the local government councils of the state.
He, however, revealed that human traffickers were daily changing strategies by luring vulnerable indigents youths at the grassroots under the guise of securing good job opportunities abroad.
” These agents of human trafficking have changed their mode of operations by moving into the nooks and crannies in different communities in all the local government areas,” he added.
Arhedo appealed to the Deputy speaker to assist the organization in getting the attention of state government to address critical issues bothering on the creation of local response units and legislative review of the Edo State trafficking in persons Prohibition law 2018.