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From: Teresa Crawford (
Date: Mon May 15 2000 - 08:42:52 EDT

I am just back from a 2 week trip to Nigeria where my organization, The
Advocacy Project, worked with WOCON (Women's Consortium of Nigeria) to help
them strengthen their campaign against the trafficking of Nigerian women.
WOCON is a membership organization that was formed in 1997. They have 11
network members and 25 individual members. Their primary focus has been on
the issue of trafficking in women but also in the last year women's
participation in the political process. WOCON and IRRRAG collaborate with
one another and in fact together in 1997 their directors wrote one of the
first studies of the issue of trafficking in Nigeria.

IRRRAG's work in Edo State (where most of the girls are trafficked from) has
been amazing. Between Grace (Nigeria Country Coordinator of IRRRAG) and
Bisi (Director of WOCON) they have helped to garner both local and
international attention for the problems of trafficking in Nigeria. Both
groups are working hard to ensure that there is in-country support for the
girls once they return to Nigeria. Large numbers are continuing to be
deported from European countries and there is only a small safety net for
them in Nigeria.

I will post the issues of our email newsletter, On the Record, that cover
the issue of trafficking in Nigeria to the list as soon as they are
published (near the end of May). If anyone wants to subscribe individually
send an email to me at Soon WOCON will have a
website posted at You will be able to find copies of
WOCON's reports, information about who is doing what about trafficking in
Nigeria and information about their member organizations.

WOCON can be contacted directly at The main IRRRAG office
is located at Hunter College in New York. They can be contacted at

Teresa Crawford

The Advocacy Project


----- Original Message -----
From: Melanie Orhant <>
To: Multiple recipients of list STOP-TRAFFIC
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2000 3:28 PM

> Does anybody know about this organization & the work that they do?
> melanie....
> Lagos - Grace Osakue, the country Coordinator of the International
> Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG), Nigeria, is co-author
> of Italios and Sponsors, a research publication about trafficking in
> She spoke with VICTOR OFURE OSEHOBO Q: What is IRRRAG? A: IRRRAG is
> International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group. It is a
> seven-nation research and action group interested in the promotion of the
> sexual and reproductive rights of women. In Nigeria, we are working with
> women groups in utilising the results of our research findings to improve
> their position. The groups are located in Edo, Cross River and Kaduna
> states.
> Q: How do the women fit into your groups? A: We did not constitute these
> groups, but they are essentially women who are in rural, semi-rural and
> urban condition. They are very poor women whose voices are unlikely to be
> heard in public arena nationally and internationally.
> Q: What do you mean by sexual and reproductive rights?
> A: This is the ability to enjoy the highest state of well-being in issues
> of sexuality and reproduction and access to the information, the means and
> the services to enjoy this well-being. Basically, we are talking about the
> right to determine with whom, where and how to reproduce and the right to
> be free from all forms of diseases relative to sexual and reproductive
> health.
> Q: Has IRRRAG been able to determine what sexual and reproductive rights
> mean to the Nigerian woman?
> A: Yes, based on our research, we now know that the Nigerian woman wants
> be able to have a say in all issues that concern her body. For example,
> when to have sex, when to get pregnant, whether or not to be married, to
> whom and when.
> Between 1993 and 1995 when we carried out a research to determine what
> sexual and reproductive rights meant for women, we found also that one
> desire ran through: The desire of Nigerian women to have a voice in all
> issues that have to do with them, and to recognise their rights to
> well-being as a result.
> Q: Does IRRRAG have plans to find out men's reaction to these views of
> women?
> A: At present, I can tell you that we are into a research to determine the
> male reactions or understanding of what sexual and reproductive rights
> to women. This became relevant when we realised that in trying to
> our findings on women's entitlement to well-being, one stumbling block was
> male attitude. Male partners do not accept the position of women. So, what
> we are trying to do is to build their positions into our programmes for
> women.
> Q: How does IRRRAG get the public and policy-makers to know about its
> studies and findings?
> A: Since 1995, we have been publishing our findings in our bid to bring
> about policy changes and attitudinal transformation in the general
> as well as meet the needs that our women groups have identified as their
> needs in the course of our field work.
> Q: Is the book, Italios And Sponsors a product of one of your studies?
> A: Yes, it is. The outcome of the field work we carried out here with the
> support and involvement of Associates for Change and the Global Alliance
> Against Trafficking in Women.
> Trafficking In Women (TIW) became an issue with us since 1996 when it
> became apparent that there was an outgoing trafficking of women/girls from
> Nigeria for purposes of prostitution and slave labour outside Nigeria.
> During our field work on the development, we learnt that in a lot of the
> communities, especially in the South-West of Nigeria, women have views on
> issues such as who should determine when the daughter should get married.
> Yet, in other communities, we found that parents have always and are still
> deciding who their daughter gets married to.
> Q: Are we talking of urban or rural communities?
> A: In the rural communities, the women are of the view that the days when
> parents decided whom their daughters should marry are over, since most of
> them nowadays live far away from home. So, they are free to bring home
> their husbands. That most of the girls have travelled out of the country
> was vital to this trend. Since 1996, having decided that there was more to
> it than met the eyes, we went into the field.
> Q: For the South-West and especially in Edo State, what factors do you
> think can be advanced for the lure to Europe for prostitution?
> A: Poverty. Families may have decided that the only way they can stay
> and live in affluence is for their daughters, wives or mothers to be sent
> out as prostitutes in foreign land. Many members of the families involved
> claim to have been delivered from poverty as a result.
> As you already know, poverty in Nigeria is the result of massive
> mismanagement of our resources and the inhuman economic policies of the
> Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha military junta.
> So, these two factors can be adduced for the low level of education
> particularly of women/girls, who have been denied training to earn
> meaningful living. These people, as a result, enjoy being trafficked to
> what they have to get what they want. This is not to say that it is only
> the uneducated that are involved. The high unemployment rate has also
> caused the trafficking of graduates from higher institutions.
> Q: Do you see light at the end of the tunnel to fight this shameful trend?
> A: Yes. There is some light, but it will all depend on the will of those
> power. Government should be ready to enforce existing legislation while
> penal code which already criminalised prostitution must be reviewed to
> penalties more severe.
> Traffickers as well as sponsors or agents need to be brought to book to
> serve as deterrent to others.
> Q: What can be done to prevent girls being trafficked?
> A: I think the education of the girl-child should be made free and
> compulsory up to university level or subsidized in the alternative with
> bursaries. If this is done, fewer girls would love to be trafficked.
> Then, jobs should be created and there should be a conscious effort to
> enlighten the populace through mass awareness and conscientisation
> campaigns.
> We should re-orient our minds to begin the appreciation of our moral
> values.
> We should emphasise well-being rather than wealth, comfort instead of
> affluence.
> The rights of women should be promoted so that they do not see themselves
> as one of the many properties of the man. Also, there must be a conscious
> effort to sensitise men to the sexual and reproductive rights of women and
> promote the dignity of the human person.
> Publication date: March 20, 2000
> The News (Lagos). All Rights Reserved.
> NEWS, THE (LAGOS) 13/03/2000

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