A plea for help and a progress report

An appeal for help for two Nigerian trafficking victims stranded in the UAE

We have two remaining women in our care still in Dubai. The first, Miracle escaped just as COVID hit and Jennifer who escaped three weeks ago. Both are living on the street on handouts from good samaritans and supported by the remaining campaign monies. Jennifer, 26 is in need of medical attention after 4 years of being locked in an illegal drinking and sex club in Sharjah and being forced to have sex with, in her own estimation, 850 men. Both Miracle and Jennifer went to the UAE to work as a nanny and cook respectively.

I have compiled very detailed files on both trafficking rings thereby opening up two new cases for NAPTIP and the Dubai Police. There are very few flights to Lagos but there is one on July 16th which will cost £700 for both. In addition, I need £200 to pay fines, visas and transport.

The funds from the campaign are now all spent and I feel morally obliged to help these last two final victims. I say final in so far as the campaign is concerned because many Nigerian victims remain in a desperate situation in the Gulf. I am supporting Jennifer and Miracle from my own pocket now and, being a photographer I have to admit this is hard as I haven’t been able to work during COVID.

I am asking, in the full knowledge that life is tough for us all, whether you would please make a small donation. Even £1 would make a difference. I am running an intensive social media campaign to sell some of my old business stock but there is a disconnect between the plight of these women and the market I am selling in. Anything you can do would be welcome.

An appeal from Nigerian trafficking victims, Jennifer & Miracle, now stuck in the UAE

The Future – The Hope Education Project

Your support of the Send Them Home project will have opened more cases for NAPTIP in 2020 than any other NGO/charity after just 6 months. We have been incredibly effective. BUT bringing victims home is expensive, very time consuming and emotionally draining. We have brought home 7 victims, supported them through COVID and provided apprenticeships, medical treatment multiple malaria and typhoid), phones and clothes. Small amounts of money have enabled us to set these women on the road toward financial independence.

I am formalising Send Them Home as a charitable trust with the Charities Commission. We will then create a new project aimed at tackling the problem at source, providing sex trafficking and modern slavery education to potential victims. Remarkably, despite all the EU and UK funding, there is no unified education project in Nigeria.

The Hope Education Project will initially operate in one test area of Benin City, Ikpoba Okha, one of the poorest parts of Edo State where 90% of all Nigerians trafficked abroad and domestically live. We will partner with schools, select churches and communities to lead after school clubs and awareness courses.

The Hope Education Project is:-

For potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in Benin
Who need education, information, support and role models
Through the use of a digital resources platform, survivor network, local schools program and local community outreach.
With coordinated, well designed & consistent messaging
To create and leverage a survivor network
Which supports victims upon their return with stipends, counselling, mentoring and opportunity information to promote independence.

Together with one of the original donors and a trafficking in persons officer in Nigeria I am putting together funding proposals and hope to be seeking funds within 2 months. I believe there is a strong case to go after #BlackLivesMatter funding opportunities as currently, the UK has its own unique problem of women being trafficked from Nigeria, a British colony until 1960.

Ironically the coronavirus pandemic has fuelled an exponential rise in trafficking recruitment. Young Nigerians in Edo State are getting poorer owing to rising food prices and parents being laid off during COVID. Traffickers are now using social media to recruit on the back of Nigeria’s incredible mobile expansion. As an aside, there is an explosion of rape in Nigeria – stranger rape, sexual assault and an exponential rise in familial rape on young children during lockdown.