Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has linked his administration’s success in combating human trafficking and illegal migration to reforms in education and programs and projects to build the capacity of Edo’s youth, equipping them to be competitive globally.

Obaseki said the government upon taking office in 2016 encountered an Edo that was categorized by the horror of human trafficking and irregular migration, noting that the narrative has changed.

He said: “We got to know a state categorized by the horror of human trafficking and irregular migration.

“At some point in 2016 and 2017, we had more than 30,000 young boys and girls from Edo come to Libya to cross into Europe.

“That was a human horror, a great tragedy for most of them, that they will go anywhere but home.

“It tells you how depressing and desperate the situation was. I thank God that we are working with the International Organization for Migration. We had to establish the Edo State Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force to fight the scourge.

“We had to admit that we had a problem with human trafficking. We started working with international agencies to help us deal with the situation.”

On how the government was able to address the scourge, the Governor said: “We started collecting data and gained insight into why many of these young people were leaving, trying to understand the underlying issues that drive human trafficking and irregular migration.

“One thing became clear: First, the current circumstances that these people had to face were such that they were not prepared for it; they had not received a proper education, because our education system at that time had collapsed and the attempt to fix education by our predecessors was mainly focused on the educational infrastructure.

“That made us really focus on the root causes and foundations of educational decline, including upskilling teachers and equipping them with technology.

“For those who had dropped out of the education system and had not received the proper education, the approach was to capture them and retrain them for the job.”