Thursday, August 11, 2005

USAID Votes $1m for Anti-Trafficking War

This Day (Lagos)

August 10, 2005
Posted to the web August 11, 2005

Frank Kintum
Lagos

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has voted about $1 million to "support and re-integrate victims of human trafficking, to promote public awareness, and to improve the capacity of police and immigration officials to detect, investigate, and prosecute traffickers."

This is in addition to the $18,000 already committed by the Embassy through its Small Grants Fund in educating people in their communities.

Economic/Political Officer of the United States Consulate in Nigeria, Mr. Eshel William Murad, revealed this yesterday at the weekly press briefing of the consulate.

According to him, US is also helping to establish state-level working groups, consisting of law enforcement officers, commissioners, community and religious leaders.

He said last week, Ogun State chapter of the working group was inaugurated, but hoped that the Lagos group will be established this week, even as the Ondo group is to be formed next week.

The Department of Labour, he added, is currently working with International Labour Organisation and Cocoa Global Issues Group to withdraw children from hazardous work on cocoa plantations.

He commended the government, non-governmental organisations and concerned communities for the recent elevation of Nigeria from tier two watch list status to tier two in the State Department's annual international trafficking in persons report.

"These rankings reflect the country's will to eliminate trafficking within and across its borders, and serve to help measure how effective US assistance can be in a country," he said.

He added that recently the Lagos zonal Director for National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) told him that attitudes that led to trafficking are not customary nor traditional.

According to him, the director cited "the 'househelp' syndrome of many Nigerians, who want young girls to act as stewardesses and cooks at home."

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