Draft:Esohe Aghatise

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Esohe Aghatise is a UN Expert on Trafficking in Persons and in migrant female workers who has worked for and set up organisations primarily providing services to Nigerian victims of trafficking and researching the phenomenon of sex trafficking from Nigeria to Europe and other areas. She is a Board Member at Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International.[1] and the founder and director of Associazione Iroko Onlus[2].

Early Life and Education[edit]

Esohe was born into the Benin Royal Family and spent her early life in Benin City. Her maternal great grandfather was the Uwangue of Benin Empire, one of the seven hereditary noble titles of the Uzama Ni Hiron.

She gained a Bachelors in Law (LLB) from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria in 1983 and went on to become a qualified barrister-at-law at The Nigerian Law School the following year. Later, in 1985, she studied for and was awarded (in 1988) an LLM from the University of Benin, Nigeria. This course included International Economic and Trade Law, an understanding of international trade institutions, such as GATT, WTO, EU, EFTA, ASEAN and a specialisation in EU commercial, political, social and cultural relationships with and assistance to the ACP Countries under the ambit of the Lomé Conventions.

After working as State Counsel in Edo State and beginning her academic career as a lecturer at the University of Benin City, Esohe moved to Turin, Italy, to gain her International Postgraduate Diploma at the University Institute of European Studies of Turin.

While still holding her lecturer position in Nigeria, Esohe worked on her PhD, which was awarded in 1997 by The Commercial University “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan, The University of Bergamo and The University of Turin, on International Economic and Trade Law; EU Institutional Organisation, framework, history and development; EU international relations with third countries, policy development and implementation.


Aghatise has worked as an international expert in her field for many years, setting up her own NGO, advising various national and international institutions and collaborating with other NGOs in the fight against human trafficking.

Since 1993 she has worked as a cultural mediator and ethno clinical therapist with victims of trafficking and violence and was also instrumental in the production of a docu-film on trafficking entitled “Viaggio di Non Ritorno”[3] (Journey of No Return) to raise awareness about and prevent trafficking. [4]

After completing her PhD in Italy, in 1998 she decided to set up an NGO, Associazione Iroko Onlus, which works to end human trafficking and prostitution as well as offering support to survivors, predominantly in Italy and Nigeria. It is based in the northern Italian city of Turin.[5]

Since 2008 she has been on the Board of Directors for the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, and is an anti-trafficking consultant to Equality Now. She remains active with IROKO, having organised a conference on trafficking in Nigeria in 2007, and in 2010 and 2011 the NGO engaged in an educational campaign throughout Italy and Nigeria. The NGO also trains other NGO workers, social workers, activists, and abolitionists.[6]

Philosophical/Political Views[edit]

Aghatise is the founder and Executive Director of Iroko, which is an abolitionist organisation, which means they work towards the complete abolition of prositution. The movement, which has existed since 1875 [7], argues that prostitution is inherently and necessarily a form of violence against women, which exists as a symptom of gender power imbalance in society. One of the biggest international organisations working towards this goal is the Coalition in Trafficking Against Women (CATW), of which Iroko is a member. CATW opposes a distinction between "forced" and "voluntary" prostitution, as it sees all forms of prostitution as a violation of the dignity of women and violence against them[8]. So this movement does not support the decriminalisation of prostitution, which has happened in several countries such as Germany[9], but decriminalisation of the selling of sexual acts, while criminalizing the buying of sexual acts, pimping, brothel-keeping, and trafficking. This approach, sometimes referred to as the "Swedish Model" or "Nordic Model", has been implemented in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, France, Northern Ireland, and Ireland[10].


In 2013/2014 Esohe was awarded recognition by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) as one of the Women and Men Inspiring Europe for Gender Equality, 2014.

In 2008 she received an award [11]from the Nigerian Government through the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

In 2007 she was honoured by the US Secretary of Stateshe was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking[12]

In 2005 she was awarded the “Madre Teresa di Calcutta” Prize in the Sector on Women in the Third Millenium of the International Literary and Artistic Prizes “Elio Vittoriani” of COBGE and of the Municipality of Messina in collaboration with the University of Messina, Sicily, Italy.


  1. ^ "Board of Directors & Staff".
  2. ^ "Association Iroko Onlus – Against Trafficking and exploitation of women and children".
  3. ^ "Viaggio di Non Ritorno - Google Search". www.google.com.
  4. ^ "Esohe Aghatise".
  5. ^ "Home – Association Iroko Onlus". www.associazioneiroko.org.
  6. ^ "Esohe Aghatise - U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes". www.tipheroes.org.
  7. ^ "International Abolitionist Federation".
  8. ^ "Coalition Against Trafficking in Women".
  9. ^ "Prostitution in Germany".
  10. ^ http://www.jafnretti.is/jafnretti/?D10cID=ReadNews&ID=523
  11. ^ "Esohe Aghatise - U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes".
  12. ^ "Esohe Aghatise - U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes".

External links[edit]

Esohe Aghatise[edit]