Beyond sporting activities, the Immediate Past Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Chairperson, Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking, DAME JULIE OKAH- DONLI, today stormed the venues of the ongoing National Sports Festival tagged Edo2020 with close to 500 anti-human trafficking volunteers in a carnival- like style to sensitize athletes and officials on the dangers of human trafficking and irregular migration on the youths of the nation.

While addressing a world press conference in Benin City, Dame JULIE OKAH- DONLI, “identified deliberate institutional policy, aggressive sensitization and massive awareness creation across the country as the major solution to the issues of human trafficking and irregular migration in the Country.”

According to Martha Adegbe, in a statement issued in Benin City after the sensitization program, the former NAPTIP Director General who is also the Founder and Executive Chairman of Roost Foundation, said the youths, which constitute a larger population of Nigerians must be adequately enlightened with a two – fold counter trafficking message. The messages are the evil associated with human trafficking and irregular migration as well as the alternative life lifting initiatives and schemes available for them here in Nigeria.

Dame Julie Okah – Donli, who had stormed the sports Festival in collaboration with the Edo state task force on human trafficking with over 500 anti- human trafficking volunteers and officials of Roost Foundation armed with over 2 Million handbills and other counter trafficking leaflets sensitizing athletes and officials who converged at different locations for the sports festival said “In addition to the awareness creation strategies at the main bowl of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, venue of the opening ceremony, and the University of Benin Games Village which serves at the residential quarters for participants we also sensitized them on the components of sporting dimension of human trafficking and also counselling them in the process.”

The ROOST FOUNDATION Chief Executive however commended the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Edo State Government and precisely the Honorable Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, for being able to gather the youths for the festival despite the huge challenge posed by the COVID–19 pandemic and other associated hitches.

“I wish to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria and specifically our dynamic Sports Minister for making the much expected National Sports Festival a reality. This year’s festival is very unique and important to the youths because it helps them to relieve the much compressed boredom occasioned by the COVID – 19 lockdown.”

“Because ROOST FOUNDATION is a global Non-Profit, Non-Governmental organization committed to the fight against human trafficking, Gender – based violence and other associated crimes, we decided to storm this festival with our partners, the EDO STATE TASK FORCE on HUMAN TRAFFICKING and a large number of our personnel and volunteers made up of experts and counsellors to sensitize officials and participants on issues relating to human trafficking through the use of sports”.

“Our findings revealed that human traffickers now use sports to lure and traffic our youths. They are deceived into believing that there is a sports academy waiting to sign them on in the destination Countries. Sadly, most of them have ended up as victims and losing their kidney in the process.

“In addition to many that are being recruited and trafficked for non-existent clubs in the destination Countries, a large number of our youths who were trafficked as fans for previous sports tournaments are still suffering across the World.

“It has been a worth- while engagement with athletes and officials at this sports festival. Apart from the sensitization, we had a long hour counseling session with them at the various point even at the games village and ROOST FOUNDATION is confident that they will surely go back to their states well informed.”

“Human trafficking is a pandemic and monster that requires strategic non-kinetic approach in order to achieve the desired result and that is why Roost Foundation targeted this year’s National Sports Festival”, Dame Julie Okah Donli stated.