MeCAHT: Leading Reintegration support for Victims of Trafficking in Nigeria

In this blog series on non-governmental (NGO) and community service organizations (CSO), we highlight the activities of different NGOs and CSOs working on reintegration.

Media Coalition & Awareness to Halt Trafficking, abbreviated as MeCAHT, is an international, faith-based organization that focuses on tackling human trafficking and rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficking victims in Nigeria. Research (1) shows that reintegration is often challenging for returnees, especially for victims of human trafficking, who must also deal with psychological, physical, legal, and financial challenges upon return. Sarah Adeyinka interviewed a representative from MeCAHT regarding their work on reintegration and human trafficking in Nigeria.

Who is MeCAHT?

Media Coalition & Awareness to Halt Trafficking (MeCAHT) is an international, faith-based organisation that focuses on tackling human trafficking. They have been active in Nigeria since 2008, but officially registered in South Africa in 2014 and in Nigeria in 2015. NGOs and others who are working in the humanitarian field with a focus on people in situations of vulnerability in Nigeria, end up crossing paths with MeCAHT at some point due to their very active role in the anti-trafficking and rehabilitation / reintegration field.  

Why focus on human trafficking?


Human trafficking is one of the highest forms of illegal trade, grossing an estimated $150 billion annually (2), and approximately 50 million people enslaved globally in 2022 (3). Nigeria is considered one of the most donating countries to the global sex trade (4), with Nigerian victims of trafficking being trafficked locally, but also internationally through migrant smuggling rings. One of the most popular routes is the central Mediterranean route, which goes from Nigeria to Niger to Libya to the Central Mediterranean Sea to Italy, which then becomes an entry point into Europe. In Italy, the highest number of human trafficking victims who end up under the care of social protection services are Nigerians (5), the majority of whom arrived irregularly.   

According to IOM (6), over 6,000 victims of trafficking, 83% of whom were women, returned to their home countries using the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) and Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR). Of the 6,000 who returned, 79% were Nigerian, and the main host countries were Libya and Mali. When these people return to Nigeria, they often return in and to situations of vulnerability, in need of different types of care and support. One of the focuses of the Reintegrate Project is to understand what kind of support is available to them upon return, who provides the support, and according to stakeholders and return migrants themselves, how beneficial and impactful is the support?  

What does MeCAHT do?

MeCAHT provides assistance and support upon return to victims of human trafficking. Their work includes awareness creation on the illicit trade of trafficking in persons, advocacy for those who have been trafficked, and rehabilitation / reintegration of victims of trafficking in human beings, many of whom are return migrants.  

Their strategy is to use the ARC Approach in various aspects of their work: see below image. 

Awareness creation: According to MeCAHT, awareness creation using tools like media is crucial.   

“We know that prevention is better than cure. It is better that people are aware about the dangers of human trafficking and illegal migration so that they can protect themselves. So, we create awareness around issues of illegal migration and human trafficking using films. That’s one of our unique and strong points, we make our own films from start, from writing the script to production to post-production.” – MeCAHT Staff.  

Rehabilitation / Reintegration: A large part of MeCAHT’s efforts goes into reintegration because many Nigerian victims of trafficking who are taken overseas are smuggled through irregular routes, thereby increasing vulnerability; upon return, they are desperately in need of assistance. Therefore, rehabilitation and reintegration are one of the biggest aspects of their work, and this work is done in several ways, one of which is through their safe house where victims of trafficking in persons are housed and hosted for as long as is needed. The duration of stay for one person could be three months, while others may be there for up to two years depending on their needs and the types of support available to each individual outside the safe house and the organization. The long-term goal is self-sustainability. 

We want to have a balanced way of doing things. Of course, we want to prevent, we also want to build capacity. But of course, we cannot just overlook those who have been through the horror of human trafficking. So, we see how we can give them a second chance to life. But in doing this, we don’t want to be their voice. We want to see how we can…help them to use their voice to also liberate others. So, the essence of our rehabilitation is to ensure that they gain autonomy and that they are self-sustaining.
MeCAHT Staff

Capacity building / competence: Partnering with and building the capacity of other NGOs and organizations working with people in situations of vulnerability, especially human trafficking, is a crucial part of MeCAHT’s work.   

“We build capacities of organization, from religious organizations on how to provide trauma-informed care for survivors, as well as also how to support them. And then also, how to also create awareness. And to that effect, we have two manuals…. One is a guideline on effective rehabilitation in Nigeria. That manual was developed by ten safe houses who came together over a period of two years to see how they can carry out trauma-informed rehab. And at the end of the day, all the processes they do to carry out this rehabilitation was documented into a manual. And then, we also have an interfaith manual to prevent human trafficking because, you know, in Nigeria, religion is a very strong tool”. – MeCAHT Staff.  

How is MeCAHT making a difference?

MeCAHT plays a leading role in the reintegration of trafficking victims in Nigeria. Their capacity building and collaboration with the government and other actors makes them a central actor within the overall reintegration governance in Nigeria. The work of organizations like MeCAHT on the ground to provide longer-term assistance and support to return migrants and more support for those in dire situations of vulnerability is essential. 

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