The Edo State Government has said it will collaborate with the United States (US) Consulate in Nigeria to mitigate irregular migration and human trafficking incidence in the State.
The Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs. Christabel Omoh Ekwu disclosed this during a visit by US delegates in Benin City.
According to her, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has put in place several measures, policies and legislation to sustain the fight against sexual based violence, among which is human trafficking.
She noted, “The meeting with the US Consulate was a good one as it deals with issues that affect us as a State, issue of migration and trafficking of persons. We have been able to rub minds with people from the US embassy. We told them the giant strides Edo State has made in the area of combating human trafficking and to further strengthen programmes to reduce irregular migration to the barest minimum and even those that are in shelters to better help them to be economically viable.
On areas of collaboration with the US Consulate, she said, “We need to replicate what we have at the City Centre with the Senator Daisy Danjuma Women Centre. We need to replicate what we have in the edifice in other senatorial zones of the State.
“We also talked about capacity building, collaborating with the US Government to enhance the capacity of the people at the rural level. We talked about sensitization and awareness creation because we discovered that people at the rural level are not abreast with the information that things that happened at the City so they are prone to deception and are gullible.
“But if we could take this awareness to them and speak the language they understand to let them know that where you are if you have something doing, it is better you stay and grow than just run out. It is not everybody that runs out for greener pastures that get it well out there. These are areas we have talked to them about and areas about empowerment. When you bring in migrants, we have the child department because some of them came back with children. We have their children taken care of, we put them in the hands of caregivers. The women in question also need to be empowered so that they can be economically viable.
On her part, the head of the US delegation and Foreign Affairs Officer, TIP Office, Washington D.C, Kelsey Brennan, said the team were in Edo State to know the state efforts at combating human trafficking and illegal migration, challenges faced and the ways US can support the state.
Brennan assured that the US will partner the Edo State Government to evolve a solution to end illegal migration.
She commended the Edo State Government for the positive approach and structure in place to curb illegal migration, adding that the US was ready to give needed support.