WOTCLEF is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) initiated and founded in 1999 by Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs.) Amina Titi Atiku Abubakar, wife of the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is committed to building an international coalition that restores human dignity through empowerment, capacity building, and advocacy. WOTCLEF works towards the eradication of trafficking in persons, child labour, and violent abuses of the rights of women and children.
WOTCLEF engages in a diverse range of strategies designed to achieve the organisation's mandate. These strategies include:
- providing trafficked people with counselling and other services to help them successfully reintegrate into society;
- providing primary, secondary, and tertiary education assistance to economically poor students;
- running a rehabilitation centre that offers lodging, protection, school assistance, meals, and vocational training;
- training youth in life skills, empowerment, confidence, and character;
- campaigning against human trafficking and child exploitation;
- developing training materials, conducting research, and publishing best practices;
- advocating government and policy-makers for the rights of trafficked persons; and
- running a voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) programme.
WOTCELF conducts widespread counter-trafficking campaigns which include workshops, seminars, conferences, state-by-state campaign tours, media advocacy, and musical concerts. WOTCLEF also sponsors a weekly television programme that, according to the organisers, attempts to depict the operation of traffickers, how they recruit, and all the risks and dangers associated with the practice.
In addition, they run a campaign against child labour, specifically related to the use of underage boys who are recruited as bus conductors. For the campaign, which was designed for parents, bus drivers, and the general public, WOTCLEF held a workshop with executive members of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). They also produced stickers for the buses that inform bus drivers and riders about the campaign, and that it is an offence to employ underage boys as bus conductors.
Their youth programme employs a peer-to-peer training strategy. Recognising that youth often learn better from each other, the programme is carried out by previous graduates, rather than adult trainers.
Through these various activities WOTCLEF aims to reach a wide range of people, from survivors of trafficking to high-level policy makers, and therefore consider the organisation considers itself in a position to encourage and advocate for change across the full spectrum of society.
Women, Children, Rights.
According to the organisers, WOTCLEF's direct legislative advocacy led to the enactment of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003, and the subsequent establishment of the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. In 2001, Her Excellency presented a private bill before lawmakers. President Obasanjo signed the bill into law on July 14 2003. The law provides for the investigation and prosecution of, and stiff penalties for, traffickers. The organisers say that NAPTIP is currently the focal point for all counter-trafficking programmes and activities in Nigeria.
In July 2003, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted WOTCLEF a Special Consultative Status. This status gives WOTCLEF the opportunity to maintain regular presence at United Nations' meetings and conferences that are relevant to WOTCLEF's programmes and activities.
Care and Support Unit of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers, International Labour Organization (ILO)/International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), National Agency for Prohibition of Child Trafficking (NAPTIP), National Council of Women's Societies.
WOTCLEF website on January 30 2008.