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COSUDOW: Preventing and Protecting Victims of Trafficking in Nigeria

by | May 29, 2021 | News

The Nigeria Conference of Women Religious (NCWR – Catholic Reverend Sisters) was touched by the exploitation of Nigerian women and girls in Europe and indeed elsewhere in the world caught in the web of a new form of slavery, Human Trafficking. They felt a strong need to fight to liberate the daughters of Africa from the shackles of traffickers, the new slave masters. In order to be at the forefront to fight this new form of slavery, the Major Superiors of NCWR established the Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW) in 1999. They placed the office in Benin City in Edo State, where most of the trafficked victims in Nigeria came from. Since its establishment in 1999, COSUDOW has been combating Human Trafficking in Nigeria, protecting victims of human trafficking, preventing human trafficking through advocacy and public enlightenment campaigns, prosecuting traffickers, and rehabilitating and reintegrating victims and survivors of this ugly trade. It also investigates cases of threat to lives of families of victims who have decided to quit prostitution for a more decent living.

COSUDOW is located at 6A Ehaekpen Street, Off Igbesamwan Street, Off Akpakpava Road, Benin City. Edo State, at Latitude (x.y) 6.335175 and Longitude (x.y) 5.628047

COSUDOW is a faith-based and non-governmental organization in Benin City, Edo-State, Nigeria which strives to uplift the lives of downtrodden young women and girls irrespective of tribe, race and religious affiliation.

COSUDOW is registered with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2005, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Edo State in 2004, and Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development Edo State in 2012.

COSUDOW Benin City has over the years become a well-established, organized and recognized institution both by National and International bodies who refer to it as one that can be duly relied upon as a leading organization in preventing, protecting and reintegrating of victims of trafficking (VOTs) giving them hope of recovery and self-reliance with rediscovery. It also serves as a resource point for interviews, researches, collaboration and industrial training attachments.

MISSION STATEMENT

To promote the dignity of young girls and women through education on their dignity, rights, sex, family and responsibilities and advance the wellbeing of the down-trodden womanhood exposing them to equal opportunities in the social-political sphere.

VISION STATEMENT

A society where young girls and women are liberated become empowered, active, valued and protected and rise above cultural nuances that mitigate against their dignity.

CORE values

Respect, Compassion, Charity, Integrity, Trustworthiness with the mercy of God as our guiding principle.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF COSUDOW

  • To counsel and rehabilitate young women who have been repatriated or voluntarily returned from Europe and elsewhere involved in sex exploitation or trade.
  • To educate and enlighten the general public, families and the young people of the hazards involved in travelling out of their country of origin without legal documents and for prostitution.
  • To ensure that victims and their family members are securely protected after they have opted out of exploitative prostitution.
  • To guide and train victims and potential migrants on skill acquisition to enable them have alternative and meaningful livelihood.
  • To give consultancy advice on business plan in other to find ways of giving victims of trafficking marketable skills and help them set up ventures that will enable them have a source of livelihood.
  • To work in collaboration with Governmental and Non- Governmental agencies working to end human trafficking.

MAJOR ACTIVITIES

The activities of the COSUDOW are widespread and all-embracing towards restoring the dignity of the downtrodden and vulnerable women especially victims of human trafficking. The activities of COSUDOW cut across:

  • Sheltering victims both locally or from the Diaspora
  • Psychotherapy, group and individual counseling
  • Medical check-up and spiritual direction
  • Family tracing, reconciliation and reunion of victims with their families: Some of the victims travelled without the consent of their families. Some had sold the family most valuable property and used the money to travel out. Unfortunately when they are repatriated empty handed they are shame-faced and afraid. They therefore do not want to go back home. In the same vein those who were trafficked by their own parents or family members do not feel secured anymore in their families and so do not want to go back home as well.
  • Providing psychosocial support and psychological therapy for the mentally derailed victims of Human Trafficking.
  • Sheltering and Scholarship for minors and vulnerable children of victims of human trafficking.
  • Engage victims and potential migrants in acquiring vocational skills within their locality.
  • Market surveys prior to reintegration.
  • Preparing business action plan based on the victims choice of business prior to reintegration exercise.
  • Reintegration of Victims of Human trafficking.
  • Creating awareness and public enlightenment/sensitization through seminars, print and social media, market campaigns, road walks, community mobilization, outreach campaigns in churches, schools and other institutions; town hall meetings of opinion leaders, press conferences, printing banners, posters, T-shirts, scarfs and distribution of fliers, etc.
  • Networking and collaborations with other government and non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of victims progress and successes.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Since the inception of COSUDOW, more than 300 VOT’s have been fully reintegrated with small scale businesses set up to improve on their livelihood. The number continues to increase immeasurable.
  • We are working tirelessly across local governments, schools, higher institutions and communities both in Edo and beyond in awareness campaign on human trafficking.
  • We have successfully convinced some community heads (Mayors) and made them our Ambassadors on the fight against Human Trafficking Enlightenment Campaign.
  • We continued to strengthen Family tracing which is an important aspect of social reintegration as it seems to be a foundation block that hinders some victims still trapped to voluntarily embrace freedom without doubt of being rejected by their family.
  • The number of the scholarship program beneficiaries continued to increase.
  • People are getting more aware of the tricks the traffickers use in recruiting girls, and have also come to understand the dangers of traveling abroad without valid documents through awareness campaign.
  • The coordinator has participated and facilitated seminars, workshops and conferences on issues concerning migration and human trafficking both locally and in diaspora.
  • The increased number of researchers and journalist received in COSUDOW is quite impressing and it shows our recognition and repute across the world.
  • Majority of the reintegrated victims are doing well.
  • The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, in her visit to Nigeria in September 2018, rated and recognized COSUDOW Shelter highly as of international standard.

CHALLENGES

  • COSUDOW needs to establish its own skills acquisition centre. So far, victims are referred and trained in other centres. Many want to be trained by COSUDOW because they think we have the art of caring and inculcating knowledge and morals. They feel that the skills given by us will be very beneficial.
  • Vehicle (pick-up van) for outreach campaign programs. Lack of good transportation hinders carrying enlightenment campaigns into the interior villages because of bad roads which often wrecks vehicles. New and durable vehicle is needed e.g Toyota Hilux
  • Insufficient enlightenment Program materials: Media, banners, billboard, flip chart banners, handbills, posters and cartoon prints.
  • Computers and Laptops
  • Reintegration Assistance for victims
  • Motivation for staff personnel and volunteers.
  • Office up-keep and lack of funds for operational cost
  • Communication Materials during outreaches in schools and rural areas.
  • Inadequate funds to run the shelter.
  • Health care for the victims of human trafficking and their children
  • Vocational training equipment such as: industrial ovens, sewing machines and tailoring accessories knitting machines, Hair dryers, fabrics materials, cylinders, mixers, cookers, baking accessories, etc for furnishing the skill acquisition center.

URGENT AND PRESENT NEEDS

  • A parcel of land to erect a skill acquisition Centre for victims of trafficking and constructing the centre
  • Equipment of the skills acquisition centre e.g. Hair dressing accessories, cookers and cylinders, weaving machine, Computer sets for the shelter to assist girls in acquiring skills of their choice for free, etc
  • Repair of basic house amenities-water, electricity, security
  • Provision of first aid kits to attend to the immediate needs of the victims.
  • Funds for running cost/staff salaries.

COSUDOW PARTNERS & COLLABORATORS

  • Unione Superiore Maggiori di Italia (USMI)-Italy-Sister Eugenia Bonetti,MC and Sister Valeria Gandini,Comboni Sisters
  • National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking Persons and Other Related matters (NAPTIP), Nigeria.
  • Netherland Embassy-Nigeria
  • Caritas Valencia,Spain
  • Caritas – Nigeria
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Association Against Women Export (AAWE)-Canada.
  • Slaves No more-Onlus Italia
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime/United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNODC/INICRI)-Italy/Abuja. We partner with them in terms of reintegration and awareness campaign
  • Other non-Governmental and Governmental Organizations, (CSO) Civic Society Organization
  • Edo State NGO Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons (ENCATIP)
  • International Networking for Consecrated Life against Trafficking In Persons (TALITHA-KUM), Italy.
  • Idia Renaissance, Benin City
  • Edo State Taskforce against Human Trafficking (ETAHT)

 

Contact Address: 6A Ehaekpen street, off Igbesamwan street, off Akpakpava Road, Benin City, Edo State
Email: cosudow99@yahoo.com.
Office Phone: +2348033942652,
Coordinator: +2348060826291; philokwu@ymail.com

PHOTOS SPEAK

1. MARKET CAMPAIGN: Meeting people where they do business

2. FLYERS PRODUCED AND DISTRIBUTED

3. ROAD WALK: FOR AWARENESS AND PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT AND SENSITIZATION AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING


Tags: Nigeria

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