The Stamping out Slavery in Nigeria (SoSiN) Project popularly referred to as PATH to PREVENTION is a DfID funded project currently being implemented by CLEEN Foundation and Pathfinders Justice Initiative in Oredo Local Government Area, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Human trafficking, or modern-day slavery, involves the illegal trading of people via force, fraud or coercion for exploitation or commercial gain. It occurs in every country in the world, cutting across social class, gender and age. It violates human rights, while simultaneously presenting a global health concern. Over the last 20 years, there has been growing concern over the phenomenon of modern-day slavery – particularly relating to its intersectionality with irregular migration- and considerable media attention has been directed towards amplifying the issue to ensure that it receives the urgent attention it deserves. Similarly, source, destination and transit countries have also began to prioritize the issue by enacting the necessary legal and policy frameworks in an effort to decrease the scourge of trafficking that is occurring worldwide. On the part of source and transit countries such as Nigeria, however, the approaches to addressing human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking, have largely been limited to legislation and policy pronouncement characterized with often impotent and ineffective law enforcement strategies. Moreover, there is a wholesale shortage of reliable, measurable data based on qualitative and quantitative research that have been culturally translated to serve as springboards from which effective and targeted interventions could be developed and/or framed.
Essentially, little is being done to educate communities about the criminality of recruiting, the tactics and dangers associated with Enablers, and the alternatives that are available to empower them to seek other opportunities. Beyond the limited findings fewer studies, there is an absence of quality research and data that provides a deeper understanding of the role, motivations and actions of these Enablers and how to effectively limit their abilities. As a result, low level recruiting is now perceived as a ‘social norm’ and ‘low risk crime’ for Enablers who readily recruit vulnerable victims with impunity and continue the uninhibited global cycle of trafficking. It is our belief that closing this gap will lead to a drastic reduction in the number of women who are approached and successfully recruited in Edo State.
In view of the above, CLEEN Foundation and Pathfinders Justice Initiative is currently implementing the Path to Prevention Project, an innovative approach to prevention that will develop insights and learnings to empower local communities against Enablers.
The Project will develop the evidence base to inform policies and programs that will support and scale replication of effective interventions that are focused on empowering communities against Enablers in Oredo Local Government Area, an endemic ‘hot spot’ for sex trafficking recruitment in Edo State, and across Nigeria.