The Director General of NAPTIP has called on parents and students to join forces with the government in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria.
Dr. Waziri-Azi made this call when she received a delegation of the AMMY Foundation led by Mariam Babatunde “15” who is the Co-Founder of the group, and the Agencys’ first and only teenage partner and Ambassador.
Speaking about the purpose of their visit, Mariam Babatunde who is an SS3 Student of Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Abaji informed “we are here to congratulate Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi on her assumption of office as the New DG NAPTIP and to seek her support and mentorship. We wish to explore more ways to help NAPTIP create awareness among our peers and fellow teens in school and around our neighbourhood. Speaking further, Mariam stated “ I need a lot of support from you ma, I will like to be Lawyer like you when I grow older and I want you to be my Mentor”
Mariam stressed further “my main motivation for joining the fight against Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) and human trafficking is because naturally I hate violence” She thanked the DG for her warm reception and her very supportive mom, Mrs. Rahahmat Abiola Dauda and her sisters Aminat Babatunde and Munirat Babatunde who co-founded the Ammy Foundation, one volunteer Ella Damilola Oshioepu who was part of the delegates at this meeting.
In her response to this visit, the DG commended Mrs. Rahahmat for raising a very courageous and focused daughter like Mariam Babatunde “It is commendable that even at that very young age of “11” you had the clearness of mind to know what you want to do. I see a very great potential in you Mariam, I know you will do very great things and I look forward to hearing more of your work, I will keep an eye on you and I know you will go very far. So thank you for what you do, thank you for the awareness you create”., the DG stated.
The Director General emphasised why it is important to have more teenagers taking procative actions against human trafficking. She stressed “we need many more young voices like Mariams’ to scale up and amplify the issues of trafficking in persons in Nigeria. I’m sure we all watch the news, we read the papers, we see young people constantly trying to get to European countries; the danger they go through illegal migration route and all that. But when the message comes from someone as young as yourself, I think it sends a stronger message, I think they will listen to you. I therefore encourage you to sustain the tempo, sustain what you are doing and we as NAPTIP are always ready to collaborate with you”.
The Director General Commended Mariam for all the accomplishments she has recorded at 15 including a peer-to-peer research survey she conducted and advised her to continue to sustain the tempo “as I was briefed you supported the shelter, donated things, organized workshop for your peers, you also developed a survey, I have requested for the output and raw data from the survey, let me look at it and see how we can operationalize some of the issues highlighted in your recommendations. I’m sure most of us here are already aware that TIP has become the 3rd largest criminal enterprise and now ranks 2nd amongst transnational organized crime despite all the efforts of world government including Nigeria which is why collaborations like this are very key. Yes, we have the mandate to investigate all cases of trafficking in persons, including child labour, forced prostitution, but we as government cannot do it alone we rely on individuals like yourself to also assist and support government in spreading the word and speaking to your peers” she continued.
I am very impressed by you, I am very proud of all the work you do and it is my wish that many young people will emulate the work you do. So we thank you!
The Director General assured Mariam of NAPTIPs’ full support going forward.
It is worthy of note that Mariam Babatutunde “15” who is NAPTIPs’ first and only Teenage Partner is among the young Nigerians already making waves at a tender age, she started her activism against human trafficking at the age of “11”. It started one day when she first saw 20 young girls at Rivers Plaza Abuja whom she suspected were human trafficking victims and at that young age she took the initiative to report the incident to NAPTIP in July 2017 and gave leading information to the then DG who took immediate action by sending officers from NAPTIP and the Police to raid the place for further investigation. After this incident she took bold steps in sensitising other children of her age bracket about NAPTIP and human trafficking. In 2018 her effort was recognized by former Director General, Julie Okah-Donli who awarded her the NAPTIP Ambassador Award. Since then, Mariam has been working with the Agency and helping in areas of prevention and awareness creation. She has equally made donations to the shelter and trained survivors of trafficking in the shelter on Bead making.