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In Edo: Group demonstrates human trafficking through arts

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THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has demonstrated the high risks associated with irregular migration in an art exhibition recently held in Benin City, Edo State.

  The exhibition with the theme “Speaking Through Arts” was geared towards acquainting the public with the potential risks associated with irregular migration.

  The showcased paintings of returned migrants was a visual representation of the experiences of returned migrants which unravel the strategies used by traffickers to lure unsuspecting victims.

  It was part of IOM’S awareness-raising activities through Migrants as Messengers (MaM), a peer-to-peer advocacy project where returned migrants help to promote safe migration.

    According to IOM Project Assistant, Elijah Elaigwu, the exhibition was designed as a Behavioural Change Communication (BCC) strategy where victims of irregular migration who do not have the language that can adequately convey their experiences or those who might be afraid or ashamed to talk about their experiences or story can through painting, crafted arts, spoken words or poetry, photography, graphics, and African theatre narrate their ordeal to the wider society.

  He said that the 11 participants underwent a three-day training which climaxed the fourth day with the exhibition.

  He expressed the hope that the training would define a career path for them, while they carry on with the skills acquired to earn a living for themselves, adding that IOM is always open to support their activities.

  A Senior Project Assistant, IOM, Mr Aigbeze Uhimwen in his remarks, said that returned migrants are the best avenue to tell their stories, adding that the exhibition reinforces the organisation’s belief.

  Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Arts and Culture, Itohan Bazuaye lauded the initiative, saying that the state government was pleased to partner with IOM on returned migration issues.

  The Benin Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Chidi Ebere Ororo-Ifudu disclosed that IOM has been a formidable partner over the years and lauded the creativity in the artworks.

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