29/03/18 – VANGUARD NGR – Oba of Benin places Libya returnees on salaries

LINK: Oba of Benin places Libya returnees on salaries Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/03/dalung-inaugurates-13-man-committee-sports-festival/

Benin – The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has placed each returnees from Libya, on three months salaries. A statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Desmond Agbama, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday said Oba Ewuare, announced this when he hosted to Libyan returnees in his palace.

Apart from the allowances, the Oba said the Oba Ewuare Foundation would provide the necessary tools/facilities for those who had gone through the various skills acquisition programmes. He expressed disappointment over the mentality of the Nigerian youth, with the quest to make quick money without legitimate means, noting that youths must embrace agriculture and other legal businesses to excel. The statement said the monarch frowned at the attitude of some parents who encouraged illegal migration via sea and desert, stressing that the palace would employ all traditional means to eradicate the scourge. Oba Ewuare, who was full of praises for ancestors and for steps taken so far to curb the menace of human trafficking and wave of crime in the state, called for concerted efforts of all to win the fight against the inhuman acts. Earlier, the leader of the returnees, Mr Vincent David, told Omo N’Oba that they were at the palace to seek assistance for tools to enable them to start up lives after acquiring the necessary skills from the government. The returnees further praised Oba Ewuare for deploying traditional means to rescue trafficked victims from their slave masters. NAN reports that the monarch further promised to assist all the trafficked victims to begin better lives. (NAN)

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/03/dalung-inaugurates-13-man-committee-sports-festival/

14/03/18 – VANGUARD NGR – Edo assembly passes bill to prohibit trafficking in persons

LINK: Edo assembly passes bill to prohibit trafficking in persons

The Edo House of Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill for a Law to prohibit trafficking in persons and also approved the establishment of a State Task Force against the practice.

The motion for the house to consider the bill was moved by Nosayaba Okunbor, member representing (APC, Orhionmwon East).

The motion was seconded by the Chief Whip, Osaigbovo Iyoha, member representing (APC, Oredo East) constituency.

The bill, made up of 80 sections, seeks the establishment of the Edo State task force against trafficking in persons.

According to the house, the appointment of members shall be by the governor and subject to the ratification of the house of assembly.

The secretary shall be appointed by the governor, from the Ministry of Justice or could be any practising lawyer in the state.

The bill stated that offenders shall be liable to not less than ve years imprisonment or an option of one of not less than one million nairas.

Mr Nosayaba Okunbor, member representing ( APC Orhionmwon East), however, pointed out that the Nigeria Police, the DSS and the NDLEA should not be included in the task force because of the clause mandating members of the task force to appear before the Parliament for screening.

The house unanimously adopted the bill.

The clerk of the house, Mr Eghe Otabor, thereafter, announced the third reading of the bill.

The speaker, Kabiru Adjoto, after the passage of the bill, directed that clean copies of the bill be sent to the governor for his assent.

 

10/04/18 – ALTRAECONOMIA – Dalla Nigeria una speranza per le vittime di tratta

La massima autorità religiosa del popolo Edo ha pronunciato un editto con cui annulla i riti juju che vincolano le ragazze ai trafficanti. Il messaggio è stato accolto con gioia anche in Italia, ma per portare a risultati concreti serve il supporto delle istituzioni

La speranza per migliaia di ragazze nigeriane costrette a prostituirsi sulle strade italiane passa dallo schermo di un telefonino. Un video, girato nel sud della Nigeria, mostra il rito celebrato da un’importante autorità religiosa locale che, nel corso di una solenne cerimonia, ha annullato i riti juju (o vodoo) che vincolano le giovani e giovanissime vittime di tratta alle maman (le donne che in Italia gestiscono le ragazze) e ai trafficanti. Un fatto che può sembrare confinato a un’area remota dell’Africa ma che invece -potenzialmente- può segnare una svolta positiva nella vita di tante giovani e giovanissime costrette a prostituirsi. Lo scorso 9 marzo, l’Oba Ewuare II (la massima autorità religiosa del popolo Edo che vive nel sud della Nigeria) ha emesso un editto con cui ha annullato i riti juju e, oltre a liberare le ragazze che oggi sono schiave dei trafficanti, l’Oba ha lanciato una maledizione sugli stregoni che, in futuro, useranno nuovamente questi riti per agevolare la tratta di giovani donne.

Tramite YouTube, chat e social network, la notizia è arrivata in un lampo anche in Italia dove, solo nel 2016, sono sbarcate circa 11mila donne d’origine nigeriana: secondo le stime dell’Oim (l’Organizzazione mondiale per le migrazioni), otto su dieci sono vittime di tratta e destinate alla prostituzione. Tuttavia, il messaggio dell’Oba non ha avuto per il momento effetti visibili sulle strade. “Il messaggio dell’Oba è arrivato in maniera chiara, ma avuto ripercussioni diverse sulle ragazze –spiega Matilde Bornati, operatrice dell’unità di strada del SED, il servizio anti-tratta di Caritas Ambrosiana e della cooperativa “Farsi Prossimo“-. Le donne che si trovano in strada, purtroppo, non hanno possibilità di scegliere. Hanno paura, si è inasprito il controllo e continuano a ricevere minacce dalle maman. Ad altre viene detto che il messaggio dell’Oba ha valore solo per le ragazze che vengono da quella regione e non da altre”. Diverso il discorso per le giovani che hanno già iniziato un percorso di fuoriuscita dalle reti della tratta: “Tra di loro il messaggio è stato accolto e metabolizzato più facilmente -riflette Sonia Rotolo, assistente sociale del SED-. Per loro è un potente messaggio di speranza”.

“Le ragazze con cui siamo in contatto sono entusiaste di questa notizia”, aggiunge Samuela Bruni, coordinatrice dell’unità di strada dell’associazione “On the road” attiva tra Marche e Abruzzo. “Ci sono state due ragazze che sono state cacciate di casa dalla maman, subito dopo l’editto dell’Oba, e che si sono rivolte a noi per chiedere aiuto. Ma a parte questo non ci sono stati particolari cambiamenti: le ragazze ne parlano molto tra loro, ma non abbiamo visto un calo nella loro presenza sulle strade”. Spezzare le catene che legano le ragazze ai loro sfruttatori, infatti, non è semplice. “Tutte le ragazze hanno apprezzato questa operazione, che è stata percepita come qualcosa di molto importante -spiega Valerio Pedroni, referente dell’area migranti per il CNCA Lombardia-. Il debito molto consistente da pagare, le minacce e il timore di ritorsione sulle famiglie rimaste in Nigeria rappresentano però ancora una morsa molto forte”.

La liberazione dal rito juju, è un fattore importante, ma non sufficiente. E che per concretizzarsi in un’effettiva liberazione delle giovani vittime di tratta necessita un robusto supporto da parte delle istituzioni. “Alcune maman hanno lasciato le ragazze libere e sono venute da noi a chiedere aiuto. Altre ancora vogliono lasciare la strada –spiega Osas Egbon Osariemen, presidente dell’associazione “Donne di Benin City” con sede a Palermo-. Ma mancano strutture di accoglienza, in modo particolare per le minorenni”.  Una richiesta rilanciata anche da Piam Onlus, associazione con sede ad Asti e attiva in Piemonte: “Molte ragazze che hanno abbandonato i CAS (centri d’accoglienza straordinaria per i richiedenti asilo, ndr) volontariamente o perché obbligate, adesso vogliono poter rientrare nell’accoglienza. Si sentono libere dal ricatto juju e non vogliono continuare a prostituirsi. Servono più posti in pronta accoglienza per queste ragazze o provvedere alla loro riammissione nel circuito di accoglienza”.

Le principali associazioni impegnate nella lotta alla tratta di esseri umani si sono date appuntamento per sabato 14 aprile, nella parrocchia di Santa Chiara a Palermo. Sarà un momento di festa, ma anche occasione per confronto via Skype tra realtà attive in tutta Italia (tra cui Castelvolturno, Verona, Asti, Parma) a cui parteciperanno anche rappresentanti della Questura, del Comune e del Tribunale dei minori.

© riproduzione riservata

05/04/18 – TERREDESHOMMES – NIGERIA, IL “RE” VIETA IL JUJU E LIBERA LE RAGAZZE

LINK: NIGERIA, IL “RE” VIETA IL JUJU E LIBERA LE RAGAZZE

Oba Ewuare II

NIGERIA, IL “RE” VIETA IL JUJU E LIBERA LE RAGAZZE

Lo stato di Edo, nel sud della Nigeria, è la regione da cui a partire dagli anni Ottanta ha avuto inizio la tratta delle giovani donne nigeriane: ingannate con la promessa di un lavoro come parrucchiera o baby sitter, ancora oggi decine di migliaia di donne e ragazze vengono invece costrette a prostituirsi sulle strade di mezza Europa. All’interno di questo business, svolgono un ruolo importante i sacerdoti della religione tradizionale juju che, attraverso appositi riti, vincolano le ragazze a obbedire ai trafficanti e alle maman, a non tradirli mai. Pena la morte, la pazzia, o altre sventure che possono ricadere su di loro o sui loro familiari.

Questi riti hanno un forte potere di suggestione. Sono, di fatto, catene invisibili che pochissime ragazze hanno il coraggio di spezzare. Chi invece ha avuto il coraggio e il potere di spezzarle è stato l’Oba (il “re”) Ewuare II, la massima autorità religiosa del popolo Edo. Lo scorso marzo, l’Oba ha convocato tutti i sacerdoti juju della regione e ha formulato un solenne editto con cui ha revocato tutti i riti di giuramento pronunciati dalle ragazze. Inoltre, ha obbligato i sacerdoti juju a non praticarne più e ha lanciato una maledizione su coloro che favoriscono la tratta degli esseri umani attraverso l’uso di queste pratiche. “Non vogliamo contrastare le attività dei sacerdoti, ma coloro che usano il juju per perpetrare il male sulla terra, attraverso il favoreggiamento e il traffico di esseri umani”, ha dichiarato Ewuare II, che ha infine lanciato un appello a “unire le nostre forze” per lottare contro la tratta di esseri umani.

Ewuare II è una figura molto rispettata in Nigeria. “La sua presa di posizione è importantissima”, spiega Francesca De Massi, responsabile di una casa-rifugio della cooperativa Befree a Benin City, che era presente alla cerimonia. De Massi, ha ricevuto molte telefonate dall’Italia: “Le ragazze mi chiedono se è vero, sono felicissime e stanno festeggiando”. Libere dalle catene del juju, per le giovani e giovanissime nigeriane costrette a prostituirsi in Italia, potrebbe essere più facile trovare il coraggio per denunciare i propri sfruttatori.

Vittime di tratta sempre più giovani

Quasi tutte queste ragazze sono arrivate in Italia al termine di un lungo ed estenuante viaggio che dalla Nigeria le ha portate attraverso il deserto del Sahara fino alla Libia e all’Italia: di trafficante in trafficante, spesso abusate e costrette a vendersi già durante il viaggio per ripagare l’enorme debito contratto (dai 20 ai 50mila euro). “L’elevato numero di giovani donne nigeriane tra i migranti che raggiungono l’Italia su un gommone partito dalla Libia è un dato consolidato e in costante crescita, sia per quanto riguarda le donne (erano circa 5mila nel 2015, passate a 11mila nel 2016) sia per quanto riguarda i minori non accompagnati (in larga parte di sesso femminile, passati da 900 a 3.040)” si legge nell’ultima edizione del dossier “InDifesa” presentata lo scorso 10 ottobre in occasione della Giornata internazionale delle bambine e delle ragazze.

Oim (Organizzazione mondiale per le migrazioni) denuncia “il significativo e preoccupante aumento di vittime di tratta adolescenti”. Molte tra queste ragazzine al momento dello sbarco si dichiarano maggiorenni, seguendo le indicazioni dei trafficanti: “In questo modo infatti le ragazze verranno collocate in strutture di accoglienza per adulti, dove sarà più semplice contattare i loro trafficanti che andranno a prelevarle con maggiore facilità”.
Anche Save the Children ha evidenziato il progressivo abbassamento dell’età delle giovani nigeriane vittime di tratta: “Sono sempre più giovani, scarsamente scolarizzate e sempre più pe. Si tratta prevalentemente di ragazze tra i 15 e i 17 anni, con una quota crescente di bambine tra i 13 e i 14 anni”.

24/03/18 – VANGUARD NGR – Oba’s Curse: Come and take your pubic hairs, pants in our shrines – Native doctors beg victims of sex slavery

LINK: Oba’s Curse: Come and take your pubic hairs, pants in our shrines – Native doctors beg victims of sex slavery

…Victims, Madams at war in Europe as girls celebrate their freedom

…Pains, as Madams abandon girls in Libya

…Oba’s curse has made our job easier

— NAPTIP BY SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY

For those, who doubted the efficacy of the curse on human traffickers by the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, the calls on trafficked girls to come and take their pubic hairs and pants from shrines are indeed a direct response to the doubts.

Saturday Vanguard learnt that native doctors, who hitherto held the power of life and death over the girls, are now terrified to the extent of reaching out to them through emissaries.

The native doctors in Edo State and other states, whose charms are known to have sustained the trafficking business, were gathered to have been uncomfortable since the Benin monarch made the pronouncement.

For many years, human traffickers, sponsors of girls to Europe where they are forced to engage in prostitution to pay back their sponsors who are fondly called “madams.” It is simply sex slavery. The trade had badly damaged Nigeria’s image abroad. Most of the girls are Edo indigenes.

Complying with the order Saturday Vanguard recalls that the Oba recently placed a curse on human traffickers, cult-related killers and other criminals perpetrating crime in the state to complement the efforts of the state government in the war against human traffickers.

The Oba had dug out juju that had not been exposed to sunlight for 800 years to place the curse.

However, it was learnt that the frightened native doctors had called the parents of some of the girls to come for the items they used in administrating some oaths, as most of them were no longer comfortable keeping them in their shrine.

The decision to call the victims’ parents instead of the traffickers, who hitherto owned the properties before the Oba’s pronouncement, was to ensure that some stubborn traffickers do not hold on to them.

Reliable sources told Saturday Vanguard in Benin City that the traffickers are devastated by the fact that the development has made it impossible for them to recoup their investment in the trade.

Italy, Germany, France, and Russia Consequently, some of them have commenced complying with the order in Italy, Germany, France and Russia and India.

However, it was gathered that some maintained that since they were not indigenes of the state, their trafficked victims would still pay the money used in taking them outside the shores of Nigeria.

For instance, an Igbo woman was said to have granted freedom to her victim in India, while some are hell-bent on being paid in defiance of the royal curse.

Expectedly, there is much compliance from the trafficked victims, who Saturday Vanguard gathered have refused to make further payment to their traffickers.

Some of the girls are coming together as a group to be able to form a formidable force to battle their respective traffickers.

Calls from Europe and Asia

Special Assistant to the state governor on Anti-Human Trafficking, Comrade Solomon Okonduwa, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard said his office is being inundated with calls from Europe and Asia over the effects of the curse by Oba of Benin.

Okonduwa said: “The impact of the Oba’s pronouncement has gone a long way to free our girls from the hands of these Madams in Italy and native doctors who are in possession of the girls’ personal belongings like pubic hairs, and pants among others.

“Some of the native doctors are calling their parents in Nigeria to come and take their properties out of the shrine in compliance with the directive of the Oba of Benin. Some of the girls in Europe are rejoicing while some are crying that their traffickers have not yielded to the voice of the Oba.

“An indigene of the state, whether the person is Esan or Edo North, is under the leadership of the Oba of Benin. Some are raising some issues that the pronouncement is for only Edo people, but we want to say that even an Igbo man or Yoruba who takes any Edo indigene to Europe, will be affected by the curse. As long as the person commits that offence in any part of Edo State, he will be affected. They should understand that those that disobeyed the Oba in the past had stories to tell.

Disobeying the Oba

“Those who have been freed, have been sent packing by their traffickers. But some of these girls have no place to stay after being sent away by their traffickers. We are referring them to some Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, who are into charity in Europe. The NGOs will take care of them so that they will not be sleeping at train stations.

“Most of the girls that have gone to these NGOs have renounced prostitution. These NGOs are assisting them. Those who want to live responsibly are being taken care of. Those in India, Russia, and France have some NGOs. We got a report from India that a trafficker who is from Edo State allowed her victim to go but an Igbo woman insisted that the girl must pay the money on the grounds that she is not from Edo State. We received that call three days ago. There is compliance in Italy, Germany, France and Russia.

“We still have many of them in Africa and we are monitoring the situation seriously”

Juju priests on the run

Also speaking, the Benin  Zonal Commander of National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Mr. Nduka

Nwanwenne noted that: “Most of the juju priests are on the run. There was one we wanted to arrest three days ago but he ran away. There was a lady that was summoned to appear before the juju priest we also tried to track the man but he got wind of it and took off.

“The victims have also refused to make further payment to their traffickers. It has been a positive development. We have seen situations where most of these victims are now free to talk which will help us during prosecution in the court.

And the Oba’s pronouncement is going beyond Edo State. I visited Agbor where I met with a traditional ruler and I know what he said. The effect is so much. There has been positive development so far and it has made our jobs easier”

However, a Benin lady based in Spain, who pleaded anonymity, informed Saturday Vanguard that apart from the effect on the business of trafficking, some girls who were in transit to Europe have been abandoned in Libya.

She said: “The Oba’s curse is affecting the businesses of the Madams and they are all scared now.    The girls who are already in Libya on their way to Europe as of the time of the Oba’s declaration are now stranded in Libya. The Madams have decided that since Oba has placed a curse on them, they will no longer carry on with the trade. So, they are no longer sending money for the upkeep of the girls in Libya from where they would have moved some to Europe. The girls are now stranded in Libya.

“The situation is causing pains to these girls in Libya because usually, the Madams who will take them to Italy are the ones in charge of their feeding, transportation, and other expenses in Libya.

“Now that the Oba has placed the curse, they have completely abandoned these girls in Libya and those girls are now vulnerable with all kinds of things.

Girls abandoned in Libya

“The Madams should send them money to send these girls back home instead of keeping them in Libya. But one of them told me that she is even scared of sending money to one of the girls to go back to Nigeria because she does not know whether the curse will affect her if she tries to help. They have now left those girls to fend for themselves. These girls are being sold as sex slaves now in Libya. I just hope that the governor of Edo State, who has been doing a lot, will chatter a plane to bring those girls back.”

A few days after Saturday Vanguard published the story of the Oba’s pronouncement,    some of the trafficked girls posted two videos on the social media, vowing not to pay their traffickers.

In one of the videos, an Austrian-based girl, who identified herself as Joy, vowed not to pay further money to her Madam.

She narrated how she came to Europe through Libya two years ago, adding that she was told to pay 30,000 Euro by her Madam so as to be free.

She said: ‘’I don’t have a good job because I have no document. And my Madam expects me to get the money through prostitution and I can no longer cope. I was sleeping in a train station before I was able to get a small house where I live now. I have been paying that money back to my Madam since then. But I thank God when I heard about the Oba’s curse because I need to plan my future and stop being a slave to a woman.

I called my Madam and I told her about Oba’s curse, saying that I was not ready to pay any more. She started shouting and asking me whether it was Oba that brought me to Europe. I told her it does not matter that after all, I took the oath in Benin.    The native doctor is still with my pubic hair, pant and other things we used for the oath-taking. We were three girls my Madam brought here. I am in Austria, one is in Italy and another one in France.

I am in Austria

“She asked the one in France to pay 40, 000 Euro, while the one in Italy will pay 30 Euro.

“If we are not able to pay the money, we will be valueless as women in life. No man will ever marry us because we will be finished while the Madam and her family will be enjoying life. The Madam is threatening me saying that if I don’t pay this month she will deal with me. But I want to say that if she tries anything against me, I am going to call the Police for her. She is an evil woman. I have been enduring a lot of things.

These women sponsor people here to destroy their lives. In Italy the man pays five or ten Euro for a round of sex, is that life? And we have been suffering this because we want to pay the money to Madam. But enough is enough and in the event that anything happens to me, she should be held responsible”.

Another girl in Europe, who identified herself as Jenifer, said her Madam asked her to pay 35,000 Euro, adding that she had paid 30,000 Euro before now.

She said: “I have told my Madam that I can longer pay the balance of 5,000 Euros because of Oba’s curse. After all, I came to Europe by land and not air. I came through Libya. I suffered to pass through the Sahara Desert. She is calling everybody in Nigeria threatening me.

The family said they will take my pant and pubic hair to a native doctor so that I can be deported to Nigeria.    I will arrest her If she continues to threaten me. She stays in Cologne, Germany. Her name is Queen Iyobo, I will deal with her if she disturbs me. She is claiming that she is Esan and not Benin, saying that Oba’s curse will not affect her.  I have told her I will not pay because if I pay the curse will kill me.”

24/03/2018 – NY TIMES – A Voodoo Curse on Human Traffickers

LINK: A Voodoo Curse on Human Traffickers

Oba Ewuare II, traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, at his coronation in 2016. This month he issued one curse and revoked others in a bid to encourage victims to testify against human traffickers.
Credit/Pius Utomi Ekpei/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

ABUJA, Nigeria — Human traffickers have officially been cursed. On March 9, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, in southern Nigeria, put a voodoo curse on anyone who abets illegal migration within his domain. At the same time, he revoked the curses that leave victims of trafficking afraid that their relatives will die if they go to the police or fail to pay off their debt.

Before being smuggled into Europe, women and girls in the area, which falls in present-day Edo State, are made to sign a contract with the traffickers who finance their journey, promising to pay them thousands of dollars. The agreement is sealed with a voodoo, or juju, ritual, conducted by a spiritual priest, known here as a native doctor. Pieces of their clothing, fingernails or hair are mixed with drops of their blood into a concoction that the women are made to drink.

The oba has authority over all the spiritual priests in the Benin kingdom (not to be confused with the West African country of Benin). He summoned them to his palace that Friday to make his announcement.

David Edebiri, a high-ranking traditional leader, was there, and described to me what happened during the ceremony. First the oba “released all those bound by juju.” Then he put a curse on the head of any priest who makes “any concoction for anybody with a view to promoting any immigration to any part of the world.” This curse, Mr. Edebiri told me, “manifests in various ways: Some may die mysteriously, some may go mad in the street.”

What the oba has done is likely to be more effective than anything the international anti-trafficking community has managed to do after millions of dollars and many years.

The Benin kingdom of the Edo people has a proud history dating back to the 13th century. But lately Edo State has gained notoriety as a hub of sexual exploitation. According to the United Nations, over 90 percent of the thousands of women taken from Nigeria to Europe to work as prostitutes are coming from Edo.

Edo is not one of Nigeria’s poorest states. But in the early 1980s women there started traveling to Italy to trade in gold and beads, and “saw a thriving market in prostitution,” said Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, a professor at the University of Benin and a researcher for the International Organization for Migration. She believes this “founders factor” is the main reason Edo has become such a center of human trafficking.

During a reporting trip there in 2016, I came across heaps of secondhand winter clothes for sale to those planning to make the journey to Europe. I also met girls who had traveled thousands of miles to find a trafficker who would send them there.

The oba’s intervention was probably motivated by a recent CNN series on human trafficking that focused on Edo. Mr. Edebiri said that the portrayal of the kingdom as a “den of illicit activity” outraged him and his colleagues. Around the same time, Julie Okah-Donli, the director of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, paid the oba a visit. She said she told him that it was difficult to prosecute traffickers because the victims worried about breaking their oaths.

The fear of these oaths and their supposed consequences is one big reason women remain enslaved in sex work and debt bondage; they often rebuff attempts by activists to set them free.

A native doctor named Olor Elemian boasted to me: “I don’t need to collect the girls’ photographs or fingernails or anything else as other native doctors do. All I need is for them to bathe naked before the shrine and to write out their full names.” Sitting on the floor in his shrine amid calabashes, animal bones and bloodstained cloths, Mr. Elemian, who inherited the job from his father, said: “I can make sure that she never sleeps well or has any peace of mind until she pays what she owes. Something in her head will keep telling her, ‘Go and pay! Go and pay!’”

In Edo, I also met a 25-year-old woman who was deported from Italy but who along with her family remained petrified by the consequences of her unpaid debt. Her mother eventually borrowed yet more money to pay a native doctor to undo the oath her daughter had taken before she was trafficked.

“This belief in juju has been a strong impediment to our prosecution” of traffickers, Arinze Orakwue, a top official at the Nigerian anti-trafficking agency, told me. “You can’t prosecute when nobody is willing to come forward to say this person did this to me.”

His agency expects Oba Ewuare’s pronouncement to have a significant impact in all of Edo. The oba’s decree “is a very strong weapon to support anti-trafficking,” Mr. Orakwue said, because the Edo people’s “belief system is strongly rooted in traditional worship.”

The agency’s appeal to the oba is an example of using African solutions to solve African problems. Well-meaning foreign governments and groups can continue to inject millions of dollars into Africa to fix our problems, but those interventions would be much more effective if local people and customs were more deeply considered.

It is all well and good to imagine Africa as a Wakanda, where technology rules and everything works. But Africa is not a Wakanda. At least, not yet. We must use what Africa has today to get it to where we want it to be.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a journalist and the author of the forthcoming young adult novel “Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree.”

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