Parents have been advised against promoting sex trafficking of their children abroad for financial gains.
Evon Benson-Idahosa, Executive Director, Pathfinders Justice Initiative, gave the advice in Benin at a dissemination meeting of research findings on recruiters of sex trafficking in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo state to stakeholders.
The research work was conducted by Pathfinders Justice Initiative (PJI), in collaboration with Cleen Foundation.
According to her, the research published in 2020, shows that 98.7 per cent of people interviewed agreed that parents in Oredo Council mount pressure on their children (potential victims) to travel aboard for prostitution.
Benson-Idahosa said: “The survey revealed that potential victims’ families mount pressure on their own children by regularly making comparisons with the potential victim’s peers who have travelled abroad and appear to be succeeding.
“It also revealed that although, both parents of potential victims may mount pressure on them to consent to being trafficked abroad, mothers are more often implicated in these situations.”
She said 99.9 per cent of people interviewed indicated that they had heard about sex trafficking, while some of them want campaigns to focus on the dangers and implications of sex trafficking.
Benson-Idahosa listed other factors that promoted sex trafficking to include: poverty, ignorance, status symbol, general insecurity, poor infrastructure, laziness and greed.
The executive director said the research findings also showed that traffickers now recruit sex victims via digital platform such as Facebook, WhatsApp, among others.
She gave recommendation of the research to include behavioural change from parents and prospective victims toward travelling abroad for prostitution as a way out of life.
“Legislation alone cannot mitigate vulnerability to trafficking but addressing the gender disparities that render women vulnerable. The research also called for intensification of efforts against trafficking by all stakeholders to curb the menace,” Benson-Idahosa said.
In her remarks, Mrs Ijeoma Uduak, Zonal Coordinator, National Agency for the Prohibitions of Trafficking, Benin Zonal command, called for stiffer punishment for traffickers to serve as a deterrent to others.
Uduak said, “We don’t want the option of fines for traffickers, they must serve jail terms.”
The zonal coordinator added that people embracing prostitution as a means to alleviate poverty was a serious challenge in tackling sex trafficking.