The New Apostolic Centre for Development’s Management announced on Tuesday that 1,079 people had reported cases of human trafficking and gender-based violence to the Edo State Sexual Assault Referral Centre in order to seek justice.
Victor Oriakhi, a board member of the non-governmental organisation, said the reported cases were occasioned by the body’s implementation of the Agents for Transformation project funded by the European Union in the state.
The board member disclosed that some victims said they knew the centre through a radio programme sponsored by the NCD.
He explained that the project aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of human trafficking and improve the state’s response to sexual and gender-based violence.
Oriakhi asserted that 600 victims of the societal menace approached the centre before the implementation of the programme commenced in June. The figure, according to him, increased to 1,079 as of November 24.
Oriakhi disclosed that since June, the NCD had handled two cases, one of which was referred to the Vivian Centre and the other to the Edo State Ministry of Justice.
According to him, NCD training and extensive public awareness activities have led to more citizens accessing the Edo State Sexual Referral Centre (Vivian Centre) to report cases of gender-based violence.
Records obtained from the Vivian Centre showed that the centre recorded more cases between June and November 2022, when NCD implemented the Preventing Human Trafficking and Responding to Gender-Based Violence programme in the state.
“As at the time the project commenced in June 2022, the centre had received only about 600 cases since its inception.
But by November 24, 2022, the number of cases reported to the centre increased to 1,079, and some of the victims confirmed that they knew about the centre from the radio programme sponsored by NCD,” he stated.
He said that the European Union-funded programme was implemented by the British Council in Nigeria, adding that the body’s anti-trafficking and gender-based violence response messages had reached millions of people in Edo State and other parts of the world.
The NCD board member further explained that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons has also confirmed that it received more cases in their office daily due to increased awareness.