The United Nation’s migration agency has opened a new facility in Edo in southern Nigeria to provide unhindered access to legal services to victims of trafficking in the West African nation.
The legal hub will provide free, prompt, timely, and confidential legal aid to victims regardless of sex, age and gender, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a statement issued late on Tuesday.
The IOM said it also conducted awareness-raising sessions in Delta and Lagos states in Nigeria.
It also said two additional hubs will be established in Delta and Lagos states at the end of the year.
“Currently, prosecution of traffickers in Nigeria is focused primarily on criminal cases,” said Bertha Nguvulu, IOM Nigeria Counter-Trafficking Project Officer.
“The legal hubs will bring together all actors involved in criminal, as well as civil proceedings for victims of sexual and labor exploitation seeking legal redress in the country,” Nguvulu said.
Nigeria remains a source, transit and destination of human trafficking, said Tony Ojukwu, executive secretary of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, while addressing media on July 29 in an event marking International Day Against Human Trafficking. He called for speedy trials for human trafficking cases.
According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, Nigeria ranks 32 out of 167 countries with a high number of trafficked slaves with 7.7 victims per 1,000 people.