STAKEHOLDERS yesterday held a review meeting on the Nigeria and Benin Republic joint Plan Action on Trafficking in Persons, and for the production of country position paper and frameworks of the countries’ 10th joint consultation to be hosted by Benin Republic later this year. Speaking at the meeting, the director-general, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli said the joint partnership between the countries was necessitate by the steady increase in the movement of children across the nation’s common borders for labour employment. Okah-Donli said that over the years a migration pattern of children from Benin republic to Border States in South-western Nigeria for labour exploitation in homes and stone quarries had been observed. She said considering the fact that Nigeria and Benin republic share the same border this situation presented a need to establish an understanding between the two countries to stem the growing tide of
trafficking in children. According to her, this deplorable trend of trafficking in children called for urgent redress to the problem which came with the signing of an MOU between Nigeria and Benin Republic in 2005, to provide an effective platform to check cross-border trafficking of children. She revealed that the MOU paved the way for the setting up of a joint technical committee to evolve Plans of Action on annual basis from 2006 to 2012. Referring to record from the October 2016 Joint Sub-Technical meeting in Porto-Novo, said there was significant reduction in children working in stone quarries especially Beninois children, as a result of efforts by both countries in addressing the issues of children working in stone quarries. “We must acknowledge the invaluable contribution of Terre des hommes in sanitizing the stone quarries of Abeokuta,” she said. The NAPTIP boss urged all the stakeholders to replicate the same zeal in addressing the problem of minors working in stone quarries and plantations in other parts of Nigeria to ensure that the problems of Child labour exploitation is reduced to the barest minimum. She explained that the meeting
was important for Stakeholders to assess the level of implementation of the 2012 Action Plans and articulate a new country position for the forthcoming Nigeria-Benin consultation in line with agreed resolutions at the 2016 joint subtechnical meeting in Port-Novo. Okah-Donli expressed hope that the experts would leave no stone unturned in articulating up to date information from the Action plan for presentation at the next meeting. She reiterated the commitment of NAPTIP to full implementation of the Plans of Action and urged for continuous support and availability of all the Stakeholders as the fight against human trafficking, according to her, can only be won through an all-inclusive approach. Speaking also, head of Country Office, Nigeria, Terre des hommes Foundation, Mrs. Peju Osoba said the meeting will help the Stakeholder to come out with plans on how to tackle challenging issues of migration instead of focusing on trafficking alone. Osoba said the Stakeholder would come out on how to support the children, to educate them and get them properly informed of the experiences they could get from migrating and how to seek support.

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