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When We Took a Walk against Sex Trafficking – Mark Amaza

 

Friday, the 20th of September 2013 is not a date I will forget easily.

On that morning, I joined about 50 other, mostly young people in a walk around part of the city of Jos to raise awareness on sex trafficking and its dangers organized by Project Rahab.

The walk which started from Hill Station Roundabout and went all the way to Polo Roundabout and ended at the Educational Women Model Centre was exciting and a rich experience. It was not just the singing and the fun of taking part in a group activity; it was also the activity of educating people on what sex trafficking is, the dangers it is causing to the society and how we need to be all part of the solution.

The walk was also an eye-opener to how there is very little to almost no sensitization on sex trafficking. While handing out flyers on the walk, I took out time to interact with the people receiving it. They kept asking me questions like, “what is sex trafficking?” or “It is happening around us?”

To many people, and I will admit myself too until I came into contact with the founder and coordinator of Project Rahab, Venn Lannap, sex trafficking always sounded distant and divorced from my immediate surroundings. I always thought it was only the trafficking of girls from Nigeria to distant lands such as Italy and Spain to work as sex workers under duress and blackmail constituted sex trafficking.

However, the devilish trade of sex trafficking is very alive within Nigeria, in almost every township and definitely in the city of Jos. Many girls are lured from villages with promises of work in Jos, only to end up as call girls, forced to work by madams to whom they must remit their daily takings.

The low level of awareness shows that a lot of work needs to go into raising the awareness if we are going to stop this scourge and save thousands of young women having their futures truncated by evil people.

This is why the theme of the walk, “See No Evil. Hear No Evil. You Are Evil” is apt in telling people that merely ignoring prostitution around them will not stop them from being affected by its effects. As a matter of fact, it is in keeping silent that sex traffickers get the most leverage to actualize their evil plans and keep their victims in continuous enslavement. They want us to be silent so that they can continue to operate ‘under the radar’.

I was gladdened by the fact that the walk attracted an impressive turnout, with different partners from the media, religious bodies, women organizations and other partners. Most impressive was the presence of the Plateau State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Barrister Olivia Dazyem, who participated in the walk from the beginning to the end. I cannot imagine a greater level of support from the government than this, and I know it will not stop there.

It has been about two months since the walk, and the fight is not over. As a matter of fact, it has just begun.

I hope to see activities from Project Rahab and its partners towards increasing sensitization on sex trafficking and efforts to arrest the scourge.

Mark Amaza

 

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