The new law provides an effective and comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of human trafficking and related offences in Edo State. The law seeks to deter human trafficking in Edo State by imposing strict penalties on traffickers and trafficking offences.
As part of our setup, we have an investigation unit (that comprises 10 Police Officers, 2 Immigration Officers and 2 DSS officials) with oversight functions exercised by the Chief Security Officer of the Edo State government house. This unit is responsible for conducting vigorous investigations of any suspected cases of human trafficking in Edo State.
Investigations conducted by this Unit form the basis for prosecutions, which are handled by the Anti-Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Ministry of Justice. The Prosecution team has powers of prosecution under the recently passed Edo State Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Law.
Our investigations revealed that suspected sponsors of trafficking often operate with fake identity documents and contact information, thus making arrest and indictment challenging in certain instances.
Though prosecution of traffickers has in some cases been stifled by the resistance of the victims to pursue justice for fear of retaliation by suspected traffickers, external pressure and undue influence, we vigorously encourage victims to speak out and offer them protection from any backlash.
In spite of the challenges, we employ diverse measures to increase the results of the investigation and prosecution of cases of human trafficking. Through proper education about the investigation process, the emancipatory potentials for prosecution, and dissemination of information about witness protection solution for victims of trafficking, we have recorded an increase in the willingness of victims to come forth with relevant information and pieces of evidence to allow justice run its full course.