By Brianna McAdoo, Special to the AFRO
Nigerians in the diaspora are tackling issues of human rights, not only in Nigeria but throughout the world. The Washington D.C. Chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization formally known as NIDO brought a difficult but necessary conversation to the Nigerian Embassy on Oct. 2 with their panel on “Combating Human Trafficking in Nigeria, New Trends, Challenges and The Role of Nigerians in Diaspora,” a discussion with a diverse array of knowledge and solutions to the horror that is human trafficking engaged on next steps.
The Washington D.C. Chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization formally known as NIDO, conducted a panel on human trafficking on Oct. 2 at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Northwest, D.C.
NIDO is an alliance of Nigerians with the mission: “To promote a spirit of patriotism and co-operation among Nigerians in the Diaspora, thus mobilizing the vast resources of manpower and machinery towards building a greater Nigeria.” Building a community of Nigerian and Nigerian allies, they host panels, symposiums and job fairs as well as a wide range of services for the NIDO community and their surrounding communities.
Hosted at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Northwest, D.C., NIDO brought together strong Nigerian leaders including Dr. Sadia Ali Aden, Samuel Adewusi (moderator), Chike Anyanwu, Dr. Doris Johnson, Asma Inge-Hanif, Dr. Juliet Mbonu, and Joseph Osuigwe to discuss ways to combat human trafficking in Nigeria and throughout the diaspora. The event had a much later start than advertised, but the audience was immediately captivated when the event began. Each panelist was given their own time slot to present their information.
Offering an invaluable perspective on the detrimental effects of human trafficking on one’s health was Dr. Sadia Ali Aden and Dr. Doris Johnson. Johnson, a medical practitioner with a focus on clinical nutrition focused on the effects of mental health in relation to human trafficking. Delving into the various forms of trafficking (i.e human trafficking, labour trafficking and organ trafficking), Johnson highlighted the mental health implications that come along with human trafficking and the effects of physical acts of violence. Aden shared on the indicators and implications of trauma by way of human trafficking and emphasized that, “We should pay a lot more attention to the health aspect because there is a lot more to it (than) the physical trauma we see every day.”
Joseph Osuigwe is the founder of the Devatop Centre for Africa Development, a Nigerian based non-profit committed to “combating human trafficking, ending gender-based violence, protection and promotion of human rights.” Sharing the shocking statistic that 1.3 million Nigerians are victims of human trafficking, Osuigwe challenged everyone in attendance to take immediate action, reminding people that human trafficking is a worldwide issue and not only rampant in Nigeria.
“Human trafficking is a stoppable crime, and apart from the works of government and non-government organizations, Nigerians in Diaspora have essential roles to play in stopping it,” Osuigwe said.
Chaplain and Nurse Asma Inge-Hanif is the executive director and founder of Muslimat Al Nisaa Shelter, a refuge for victims of human trafficking, refugees and domestic violence. Hanif shared how her 40 years of experience within the community, led her to understand that homeless women and children among the most vulnerable populations to be targeted by human traffickers. Approaching the issue of human trafficking with a heart full of empathy she has not only opened her heart to these survivors but her home, “I need to be able to provide a safe haven for these individuals.”
The Multifaceted CEO of Rika Film Productions, Dr. Juliet Mbonu shared a trailer for her film “Breakout,” exposing the ways in which women in developing countries are at risk of human trafficking. Candidate for State Delegate District 21, Chike Anyanwu discussed his personal sentiments around human trafficking and possible political solutions.
To learn more about the Washington DC Chapter of NIDO and their upcoming events check out their website, http://www.nidodcchapter.org.