from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – NIGERIAN survivors of sexual slavery, forced prostitution and forced labour are reportedly subjected to more trauma at shelters where they are kept upon their rescue overseas.
Human rights groups report that the distressed women and girls struggle with health challenges, poverty and disgusting conditions after their return.
Many are said to be held in slavery-like conditions.
Agnes Odhiambo, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said victims had received inadequate medical, counselling and financial support to reintegrate into society.
“We were shocked to find traumatised survivors locked behind gates, unable to communicate with their families, for months on end, in government-run facilities,” she said.
The frequent trafficking of Nigerian women and girls to Europe and Libya has made international headlines in recent years.
Nigerian authorities have taken some important steps to address the country’s widespread problem of trafficking.
This includes establishing shelters, assisting with medical care as well as creating skills training and economic support programmes for trafficking survivors.
This however is said to be inadequate with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari working under challenging circumstances.
“To end trafficking and break cycles of exploitation and suffering, survivors need the government to help them heal from the trauma and earn a decent living in Nigeria,” Odhiambo said.
– CAJ News