By Ekemini Ladejobi
Nollywood star Stephanie Linus has paid advocacy visit to Italy to raise awareness on the heinous crime of human trafficking and give hope to victims.
Linus is currently in Italy, to advocate for victims of human trafficking in partnership with the international medical humanitarian organization – Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranean.
According to an Linus’ e-mail to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, victims in Italy are sharing their experiences.
“It got even more interesting when the women decided to prepare a meal together, sing and exchange hand-made gifts.
“It was truly a heart-warming experience as hope was renewed in their midst,’’ she explained.
She also visited United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office where she was given a deeper insight into the operations of the organization in Italy.
This is coming in the wake of the increasing rate of human trafficking involving Nigerians who are trying to migrate to Europe through Libya.
Linus, a film director and model, also visited the rescue ship “Aquarius” to witness their activities and operations.
Actress Stephanie Linus on board The Rescue Ship “Aquarius” in Italy
She had a tour of the ship, and afterwards, held discussions on the overall need to educate people on the dangers of “being trafficked and integrating the rescued victims back into the society’’.
Linus also had a press conference with the international media, where she spoke about measures that could be used to curb human trafficking.
Linus has been at the forefront of advocacy over sensitive issues affecting the rights of women and girls.
She had carried out the advocacy through several movies, especially, “DRY’’.
She has also demonstrated her passion for fight against trafficking through her role as UNFPA Ambassador; and her charity organisation,“ Extended Hands Foundation’’.
Linus has received several awards and nominations for her work as an actress, including the 2003 Reel Award for Best Actress, the 2006 Afro Hollywood Award for Best Actress and Three nominations for Best Actress in leading role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2005, 2009 and 2010.
She was the runner up for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty Pageant 2002.
An increasing number of women, mainly from Nigeria, are being trafficked to Europe for sexual exploitation.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), there has been an almost 600% increase in the number of potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Italy by Sea since 2014.
Many of these women were kidnapped against their will or lured with the promise of greener pastures.(NAN)