Devatop Centre for Africa Development’s team met with the traditional leaders in the Enugu State community of Obeleagu-Umana in Ezeagu Local Government Area in an attempt to create greater community awareness of the ills of human trafficking. These meetings are part of a larger plan to implement the USAID-funded TATIP project in LGAs in the three (3) state senatorial zones: Enugu North, Enugu East and Enugu West.
When the DEVATOP’s team met with the Town Union President General of Obeleagu-Umana, he commended their efforts, stating that this project would be incredibly beneficial to the people of the nine individual villages in the community, both presently and in the future. He also went on to share with the official prior incidents of trafficking that had taken place in the community. He promised his unwavering support for the project as he believes that greater awareness must be created amongst members of his community to aid them in being able to identify any trafficking indicators in their community.
The Devatop team also visited the palace at Umueze in Nkanu West LGA, which is under the Enugu East Senatorial Zone. The King’s wife also shared some sad stories of returnees who were deceived into being trafficked and how they returned damaged. In a show of support for the TATIP Project, she promised to pass along the team’s message to the King’s cabinet. She provided the team with the information of a contact person for mobilisation in the Umueze community. The next stop for the team was a visit to Nkpologwu-Ukehe in Igboetiti LGA in the Enugu North senatorial zone, where they were received by a representative of the King’s cabinet and members of their youth union.
One of the youth leaders shared his tale of how he narrowly avoided being trafficked. He stated that the community needs the awareness to help them identify offers that were too good to be true, as this was usually a favourite tool of traffickers to lure unsuspecting victims. He also went on to identify the lack of good employment opportunities in the community as a significant factor that made it easy for traffickers to prey on people in the community. In his speech, he further stated that the patience and commitment of community members to the project would be the only way to curb the scourge of traffickers in their community effectively.
The team proceeded to visit the religious leader in the community, who was uniquely positioned to spread the project’s vision across the community due to the dedication of the townspeople to the Catholic religion. The Devatop team members further informed the Priest how the project was structured to bring together government agencies and community leaders to support its implementation in the state, and he promised to give full backing to the project. Another important visit was to the Sexual and Assault Referral Centre (SARC) under the Ministry of Gender Affairs in Enugu, where victims yet to receive any reintegration support were identified, especially concerning psychosocial counselling and skills acquisition.
Talkam Against Trafficking in Persons (TATIP) is supported by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Palladium through the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project.