In a profound event held at Pure Fitness Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, the 2023 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was marked on July 28th. Under the theme “Reach Every Victim of Trafficking, Leave No One Behind,” the objective was to empower the upcoming generation in the relentless fight against human trafficking.
Jointly orchestrated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – Nigeria and Mission 89, the event aimed to eradicate trafficking within the realm of football. Amid the picturesque setting of Adekola Balogun Street, Perchstone & Graeys, Lekki Phase I, the event unfolded from 10 AM to 1 PM Lagos Time.
The commemorative event also saw the significant signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between IOM – Nigeria and Mission 89, amplifying their collaborative efforts against human trafficking within football circles.
Participants, primarily academy players and teams, were urged to register by 9 AM. Only players under 18, with parental consent, were eligible. The #NotInOurGame Code of Conduct underlined the event’s ethos, serving as a pledge against trafficking. Dress codes varied: sports attire for players and casual wear for other attendees.
Transportation reimbursements were addressed, with payments processed within 30 days. Safety and well-being were paramount, with participants advised to manage their health arrangements.
Crucial links included Mission 89’s website (https://www.mission89.org) and IOM – Nigeria’s official platform (https://nigeria.iom.int/).
Uniting Against Trafficking on UN World Day
A momentous event transpired on July 30th in Lagos, Nigeria, as IOM and Mission 89 commemorated the UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Focused on fostering a safer world, the event rallied youth and stakeholders against human trafficking.
The symbolic “Wall of Dreams” showcased aspirations, with Edafe Matthew EseOghene’s tweet encapsulating the event’s essence. The “Ball Juggle Challenge” emphasized unity and camaraderie among participants.
A significant moment was marked with a Memorandum of Understanding, cementing collaborations against trafficking. Laurent M.J. DE BOECK, Chief of Mission of IOM in Nigeria, warned against unscrupulous agents and praised Mission 89 for their role.
Change-makers were acknowledged, their dedication a beacon of inspiration. Reflecting on the event, Lerina Bright, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Mission 89, expressed gratitude for collaborative efforts.
The resounding message – #NotInOurGame to Human Trafficking in Sport – resonates widely, uniting individuals against exploitation.
Addressing Preventive Measures
Lerina Bright, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Mission 89, highlighted the gravity of human trafficking within sports. Bright applauded FIFA’s proactive approach, ensuring legitimate contracts and working conditions, and safeguarding players’ rights and well-being.
She emphasized the importance of continuous monitoring. Reporting deviations as trafficking instances and taking appropriate actions were key.
Curbing Trafficking: FIFA’s Role
Michael Sudeki, President of Football Agents Association of Nigeria (FAAN), emphasized human trafficking’s gravity. He commended FIFA’s guidelines, reducing trafficking by 70%. Sudeki stressed ongoing education to prevent remaining cases.
Sudeki underlined that trafficking transcends nationality. The concerted efforts of FIFA, associations, and stakeholders are crucial.
Changing Dynamics: Reflections by Edafe Matthew Eseoghene
Edafe Matthew Eseoghene, representing Elegbete TV, highlighted shifting dynamics of human trafficking in sports. Eseoghene noted past ignorance’s contrast with present challenges. Lack of information fueled vulnerability in the past, while parents now drive trafficking.
Eseoghene’s concerns ranged from misguided aspirations in Dubai to the influence of fake agents on young players.
“In today’s world, unlike during my earlier days when proper information was scarce, my experience being trafficked in Cape Verde stands as a testament to the prevailing ignorance.
“Back then, if someone dressed formally and appeared alongside a white man, they were revered like demigods. The prevalence of ignorance, fueled by the absence of information and the internet in the mid-90s, contributed to this perception. However, the dynamics have shifted, and now it’s parents and guardians who propel this trafficking.
“During my recent time in Dubai, approximately 2300 players were trapped. Struggling to move forward, they felt too ashamed to return to Nigeria, leading them to remain in a state of limbo, often referred to as “chager.” Many of them exist in Dubai illegally, having arrived with the sole aim of securing a visa, assuming they would effortlessly find a football club. This misguided notion treats football clubs as nightclubs. In today’s landscape, fake agents find it unnecessary to exert significant effort. Convincing these players has become remarkably easier.”
The event reiterated the collective fight against human trafficking, protecting young athletes’ dreams.
Stay informed as the fight continues.