Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s all-out fight against modern slavery and irregular migration has received a huge boost from the United Kingdom (UK) Government with the roll-out of a package to protect thousands of vulnerable men, women and children from modern day slavery and unsafe migration through the use of former slaves as myth-busters, among other innovative prevention work.

The programme will comprise “public information campaigns, awareness raising at schools and universities, and new research.”

The Obaseki administration has been at the forefront of the fight against the menace, leading a state government-backed effort that has seen the enactment of a law in the state prohibiting trafficking in persons, a taskforce as well as an elaborate reintegration programme for returnees and enlisting the support of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II, among others.

UK aid, in a statement, said it is “investing a further £6 million in the ‘Stamping Out Slavery’ in Nigeria (SOSIN) programme, taking its total value to £10 million.”

International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said: “It is a necessity that we step up and stamp out modern slavery for good. I am appalled that this shameful stain on our global conscience still exists in the 21st Century.

“I am proud UK support is driving the charge in tackling the root causes of dangerous migration to prevent vulnerable men, women and children from becoming targeted by traffickers or attempting treacherous journeys again. The benefits of this will be far reaching – preventing regional instability and helping us tackle slavery here in the UK.

“The package is expected to facilitate deployment of British expertise to “help reduce vulnerabilities to trafficking and unsafe migration through targeted public information campaigns in Edo State. UK government communication specialists will design and lead this in partnership with the Nigerian anti-trafficking police.”

It will also “boost engagement with young people at schools and universities to change the aspirations of potential victims; commission innovative research on what works to prevent dangerous migration attempts and support NGOs who use former slavery victims to counter false myths that tempt people towards the traffickers.”

The statement added, “Working in partnership with Edo State, a critical trafficking hotspot, this UK aid will shape scalable, cost-effective interventions that tackle the key drivers of modern slavery and unsafe migration attempts. Changing the aspirations of potential victims and migrants in a targeted and tailored way will be essential to achieving this. This is why UK government communication specialists will design and lead a new public information campaign to do just that, in partnership with the Nigerian anti-trafficking police.”