31 March 2004
Italy, Nigeria Enhance Counter-Trafficking Cooperation
VIENNA, 31 March (UN Information Service) -- An international meeting on the Trafficking of Minors and Young Women from Nigeria to Italy will take place on 1 April 2004 in Turin, Italy.
The meeting is being organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), to present the results of its anti-trafficking project launched in September 2002 in Nigeria and Italy. The activities in Nigeria were carried out in collaboration with the UNODC Nigeria Office.
The Programme of Action against Trafficking in Minors and Young Women from Nigeria to Italy for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation is focused on strengthening international cooperation against trafficking groups, assisting the victims, and raising public awareness on this crime and its international countermeasures.
A major output of the Programme has been the Memorandum of Understanding for enhanced judicial cooperation between Italy and Nigeria in the fight against criminal organizations, particularly those engaged in trafficking in human beings.
During the international meeting, the television spot Lets Help Them to Get Free from Slavery (jointly produced by UNICRI and the Italian Public Radio-Television Broadcasting Company, RAI) will be presented. The spot exposes this dreadful new form of slavery and promotes a national help-line which has been set up to assist victims. It will run on Italian public TV channels for three months. UNICRI has also conducted awareness activities both in Nigeria and Italy.
From 2000 to 2002, the Italian help-line received around 474,000 requests of assistance, and presently, 2,700 judicial proceedings are underway.
In Turin, one of the main destination Italian cities, a dedicated outreach unit contacted and assisted around 1,250 victims, of which 60 per cent were Nigerian. Victims were offered practical assistance, including access to health services. Witness protection measures were offered to those who decided to break away from the trafficking network.
UNICRI is promoting the international meeting to assess and launch new proposals for an even stronger and more effective action against trafficking in human beings. The future programme envisages and encourages a more active involvement by a larger number of entities in the fight against what is one of the modern worlds worst violations of human rights and atrocious exploitations of poverty.
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