Nollywood actress Stephanie Linus, says her advocacy visit to Italy, on human trafficking was to further raise awareness on the heinous crime 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 Mediterranee.
According to a statement from Linus, e-mailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, she met with the women, listened to their stories and shared with them.
“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.
NAN reports that sequel to her meeting with the women, 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 increased rate of human trafficking being experienced by Nigerians trying to migrate to Europe via Libya.
Linus, a film director and model, also visited the rescue ship “Aquarius” to witness their activities and operations.
She was given a tour of the ship, and afterwards, discussions on the overall need to educate people on the dangers of being trafficked and integrating the rescued victims back into the society followed.
Linus also had a press conference with several members of the international media where she spoke about measures that can be used to curb human trafficking.
Linus has been at the forefront of advocacy over sensitive issues that affect the rights of women and girls.
She has done this through several channels such as her advocacy movie – DRY, her role as UNFPA Ambassador; her charity organisation Extended Hands Foundation and many more.
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.