As part of the effort to shed light on the issues of Sextortion, Devatop Centre for Africa Development, with support from the U.S. Embassy Nigeria, collaborated with the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, produced two short films to educate the public on the alarming trend of Sextortion.
On 24th August 2023, the two short films “The Hidden Pandemic” and “Sextortion and Revenge Porn”, were screened in Abuja. The gathering witnessed the presence of distinguished representatives from various organizations, including the Director-General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri, represented by Dr. Ebele Ulasi, Peter Burba (the Assistant Cultural Affairs officer, U.S. Embassy Nigeria), Barr. Lydia Odeh (Representative from USAID/SCALE project – Palladium), Angela Agbayekhai (the NAPTIP Drama Coordinator), Mr. James Ikape (Executive Director of MeCAHT) and many others.
The Executive Director of Devatop Centre for Africa Development, Joseph Osuigwe, kicked off the event with an opening statement, highlighting the alarming persistence of Sextortion due to societal silence and inaction. Osuigwe emphasized the impact of the #RedCard2Sextortion Campaign, disclosing the successful training of 60 teachers and student unions across three states as advocates against Sextortion. He further called for expanded focus and collaborative efforts in countering Sextortion within Nigeria, expressing gratitude to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, USAID, and Palladium for their support and belief in the TALKAM Initiative.
Dr. Ebele Ulasi, representing the D.G. of NAPTIP, highlighted the film’s vital role in creating public awareness, emphasizing NAPTIP’s commitment to preventing human trafficking and urging attendees to watch the movie with open minds while advocating collective action against Sextortion.
Peter Burba, the Assistant Cultural Affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, expressed his support for the campaign Against Sextortion, noting that over 21,000 reported cases have been prevalent in the United States in 2021. He called for unified efforts to eliminate Sextortion and foster a safer environment for Nigerians.
The Chief of Party of USAID/SCALE project – Palladium, Barr. Lydia Odeh commended DEVATOP’s significant impact in aiding victims of human trafficking and increasing awareness and reportage through the Talkam human rights platform. She stressed the pervasive nature of Sextortion and the necessity of collaborative measures to combat the crime.
The event’s second session comprised a panel discussion moderated by Emmanuel Obiabo, Program Manager at Devatop Centre for Africa Development. The panel discussion was aimed at delving deeper into the nature of Sextortion and the analysis of the two short films. Speakers on the panel included a representative from NAPTIP, Walter Quintamila from the U.S. Embassy, Mr. James Ikape (the Executive Director of MeCAHT), Ejiro Unata from FCT College of Education and Kalu Grace (the Program Officer at DEVATOP), who shared insights and recommendations on curbing Sextortion and ensuring the safety of individuals.
Members of the audience raised relevant questions, ranging from Sextortion’s association with sexual harassment in educational settings to the effectiveness of reporting mechanisms and the consequences for false accusers. Participants actively engaged with the panel, highlighting the urgency of societal awareness and collective action in combating Sextortion.
The event concluded with a call to action for increased collaboration and vigilance in safeguarding individuals against Sextortion and online exploitation, as well as urging the need to raise awareness and enforce stringent measures against this crime.