Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) on Wednesday in Abuja unveiled an App to help Nigerians report cases sexual exploitation.
Executive Director, CISLAC, Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, unveiled the App during a Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Sexual Exploitation in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria.
The event was organised by CISLAC with Support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Rafsanjani added that CISLAC would collaborate with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to tackle the prevalence of sexual exploitation in schools.
He said that the stakeholders forum was to discuss the issue of sexual exploitation in tertiary institutions in Nigeria from the anti-corruption perspective.
Rafsanjani said CISLAC has launched the Sextortion Project to effectively address the issue and secure the commitment of key stakeholders towards establishing and enforcing mechanisms and sanctions against perpetrators of sextortion.
According to him, corruption affects everyone, threatens sustainable economic development and ethical values and justice, as well as destabilises the society and endangers the rule of law.
“Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain; it can be defined as grand, petty and political depending on the peculiarity of each case.
“Not all forms of corruption include or involve money and that is where sexual exploitation falls.
“According to a UNODC (2020) survey, 41 per cent of both men and women think that ‘body currency’ – the exchange of sex in return for preferential treatment – happens very frequently in Nigeria.
“Another 30 per cent are convinced that it happens frequently. Most victims and survivors of sextortion (termed “body currency” in Nigeria) are unable or reluctant to speak out’’
Rafsanjani said that the anecdotal evidence showed that in Nigeria, girls and women were sexually extorted when requesting basic services such as medication, positions while being recruited or seeking good grades at school.
He added that many Nigerians were not aware of their fundamental rights and as such, could not tell when it was violated or know where to go seeking redress.
He added that the fear of stigmatisation by society which was very common and the fact that perpetuators were mostly high profile individuals, either lecturers or non-academic staff members.
He said that due to their level of influence or power within the institution and the society, a lot of victims were reluctant to report or speak out.
He said that there was also distrust for the system, as people were unsure if they would get justice or the necessary redress.
Rafsanjani said that there was need for all Nigerians, especially victims of sexual exploitation in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, to understand their rights and speak out, so that the school authorities and anti-corruption agencies could sanction perpetrators.
“On our part, CISLAC has created a trusted electronic channel which is called TIMBY App and physical complaint and reporting channels for people to pursue psychological support and redress.
“This is in line with one of Nigeria’s commitment under Open Governance Partnership (OGP), to support victims and witnesses of corrupt practices,’’ he said
Giving an overview of the sextortion project, Ms Bathsheba Tagwai, Lead, Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre under CISLAC, noted that Nigerian universities were considered as extremely abusive to young women seeking education.
Tagwai said that CISLAC was using social and conventional media to create awareness amongst citizens, especially within select tertiary institutions, and among parents, universities management and other stakeholders.
This, she said, was on the dangers of sextortion, and available channels provided for reporting across project states and how to demand for action to address the issue.
She said that the organisation was using mediums like TIMBY App, physical complaint and reporting channels on sextortion to pursue psychological support and redress.
She said that the App provided an easy platform for anyone across the country to confidentially report issues of sextortion and receive support.
“The stereotype by society that females are the only victims of sextortion should be reconsidered because there are situations even though not so prevalent where males have been victims.
“Also, there are situations where the female students are the ones who approach the lecturers and offer sex in exchange for favors,’’ she said
Tagwai said CISLAC recommended that organisations working on sextortion should gather facts and data around this, as reports on it were scanty.
Taking participants through the usage of the app, Mr Emir Suljovic, Development Advisor, CISLAC, said that the App could be downloaded from Google play store.
Suljovic said that Nigerians could visit https://sextortion.