Introduction

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is the focal Agency for the fight against the scourge of human trafficking in all its ramifications. It is empowered by the law to amongst other functions provide an effective and comprehensive Legal and Institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of human trafficking and other related offences in Nigeria as well as the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, in the FCT.

The NAPTIP E-Digest is a platform created by the Director – General in line with her resolve to scale NAPTIP’s reach, create awareness and sensitize the public on the activities of NAPTIP and its partners; the ills of human trafficking and violence against persons and NAPTIP’s reporting channels.

For us at NAPTIP, February was very busy, packed with activities. NAPTIP in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) premiered an Anti – Human trafficking short film, titled “Dangerous Hope”; we re-affirmed our commitment to a community-based model for fighting SGBV in Pigba, Garki Chiefdom Council of the Abuja Municipal; Area Council (AMAC); we organized the 2023 first quarter of the Hi – Level Multi – Agency Task Team (Hi – MAT) and Service Providers Accountability Resource Committee (SPARC) meeting for the year 2023, with support from Ford Foundation; the Director – General made a presentation at the 2023 Catholic Bishops Conference; the Director- General received the Vice- Chancellor of University of Abuja and his team at the NAPTIP Headquarters and for the first time NAPTIP enforced the provisions of section 23 and 24 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015

Please enjoy the February 2023 edition of NAPTIP News Digest.


Premiere of Dangerous Hope: NAPTIP Partners with UNHCR to Produce a Short Film on Trafficking and Irregular Migration


The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday, 2nd February, 2023, premiered an Anti-Human Trafficking short film, titled “Dangerous Hope,” at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The film forms part of the prevention and partnership strategic approach of the Agency in the fight against trafficking in persons.

Dangerous Hope is a 22-minute film which examines human trafficking in the context of forced displacement. The film is targeted to scale sensitization by highlighting pertinent issues of human trafficking and the realities of forced migration. The premiere also provided an opportunity to empower the voices of victims of human trafficking by mainstreaming them into the conversation.

Speaking at the event’s opening as a Special Guest, His Excellency, the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Ade Ipaye OFR , lauded NAPTIP for its usual collaboration with critical partners and noted the importance of creating awareness as a strategic tool to combat trafficking. Mr. Ipaye noted that to win the fight against human trafficking, “we must stop the outcome before the process begins…with greater awareness, more cases can be identified and reported, thereby protecting and preventing those at risk from becoming victims”.

The DG, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, Ph.D in her opening remarks shared some successful strides of the Agency and called on a whole of society approach to tackling trafficking. The DG stated that “Human trafficking happens in plain sight. It is far more, prevalent, complex and close to home than most of us realize…and it is up to us to keep sensitizing society of the ill of human trafficking”. Further highlighting the vulnerabilities of displaced persons and irregular migrants, the DG shared the number of victims of human trafficking and migrant smuggling rescued and received by NAPTIP in 2022.

The UNHCR Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms Chansa Kapaya, rightly pointed out that forcibly displaced persons, such as IDPs, refugees and asylum-seekers, frequently lose their community support networks and become socially and culturally isolated, causing them to become easy targets for exploitation by traffickers.

The premiere followed with a post-screening panel discussion featuring field experts from organizations such as: the Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Auxano Foundation for Empowerment and Development, Great Esan Returnees Association, Caritas Nigeria, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and IDPs (NCFRMI) and a voluntary returnee, and victim of  human trafficking and migrant smuggling, who was trafficked to Libya by his mother and uncle.

The premiere was well attended by other senior government officials including the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen OFR; the DG National Orientation Agency; representatives from the Federal Ministries of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Federal Ministry of Justice; among other key government institutions that can influence policies and shape our national response to trafficking. Also in attendance were members from Civil Society Organizations, international partners, members from the diplomatic corp; private sector and the media.

Overall, it was a fantastic evening which created and scaled awareness on the ills of human trafficking and galvanized stakeholders to streamline actions that will cumulatively tackle the twin menace of trafficking in persons and irregular migration. Dangerous Hope is now streaming on YouTube and available for your viewing pleasure!


NAPTIP Community-based Model for Fighting SGBV in FCT: The District Head Pigba Garki Chiefdom Council AMAC, Gives Positive Feedback


In fulfilment of Section 41 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015, which provides for the appointment of Protection Officers to the six Area Councils of the FCT, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in 2022 created an evidence-based community model to curb Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the FCT by deploying Protection Officers to AMAC, Abaji, Kwali, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Bwari. The model focuses on strengthening collaboration with the court, police, accredited service providers, and the community leadership structure (traditional rulers, religious rulers, women leaders, youth leaders’ parents and teachers) to prevent SGBV, identify and support victims and potential victims access justices, services, and safe space.

The overarching goal of this model is to increase community resistance to SGBV, increase reportage of incidence of SGBV, provide legal protection, medical services as well as reduce incidences of SGBV. Since deployment in March 2022, the NAPTIP Protection Officers (NPOs) have conducted baseline research and sensitization programmes for different community, notably is the massive community sensitization and awareness project implemented in the 6 Area Councils during the 2022 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence which brought together all stakeholders to reflect on the magnitude of the problems of SGBV, discuss the types and forms of SGBV prevalent in their location, learn about reporting channels, referrals and SARCs centre location. Outcomes of this event has been promising and revealing.

It is against this background that on the 8th of February, 2023, the District Head of Pigba, Garki Chiefdom Council of the Abuja Municipal; Area Council (AMAC), Chief, Amb. Emmanuel A. Gade, paid a courtesy visit to the Director General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi to commended the DG for bringing advocacy against SGBV to their local community. In his remark, he stated that Pigba is the only community that has a unit number 001 in the FCT and that for 3 years the Pigba community had been ravished by incidences of defilement of minors, terrorism, and banditry, and that after NAPTIP last hosted the community dialogue in AMAC there has been significant change in behaviours; increase in reportage of incidences of SGBV; as well as increased trust in NAPTIP by the community members.

Speaking about the Pigba community model in the fight against SGBV, the team informed that a task force was set up comprising the Police, Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Teenage groups, Mothers Groups, Hunters Groups and Vigilante group to address these issues. It was further shared that every group has its own group leader and schedule of meetings and at the end of three-month they have a general meeting that brings everybody together including the Pastors, Imams and traditional rules to discuss and make decision on any pending issues including SGBV.  The community also look out for the welfare of each through cooperatives.

The Teenage Network Leader, Mrs. Ruth Anther Ibrahim highlighted the plights of Teenage girls in the community in the past stating that in 2011, a girl was raped by a medical doctor, and another 13-year-old was raped by a 49-year-old man, citing so many other instances. She also informed that with NAPTIP’s presence in their community, they were able to start the Teenage Network classes where they hold meetings and encourage teenagers to break the culture of silence and report any incidence of SGBV to NAPTIP. “We have male session and female session; to allow the boys and girls express themselves well” she stated. They also created a committee within the community to handle cases of SGBV.  “In recent times” she further added “through education, teenagers now exercise their rights to stop rape and SGBV the Teenagers call NAPTIP and got quick response that has encouraged more Teenagers to want to speak out”. She also informed the DG of some harmful cultural practices and emerging trends in their community; “cultural believe of “breast ironing” where mothers use hot calabash to iron the breast of growing girls, the motive is to suppress the breast from coming out so they don’t get pregnant, another is female circumcision to prevent girls from being promiscuous”. She thanked His Royal Highness the Chief of Pigba for his gender-responsive rulership and the leadership of NAPTIP for making their community more proactive against SGBV,

Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi in her response commended the Pigba Community for their community structure and responsiveness to curbing SGBV within the Pigba community and further calling on other communities to emulate the deliberate structure set up by the Pigba community response model to SGBV. The DG added that it was important for communities to be aware of the antics of perpetrators so they can sensitize community members on how to be proactive rather than reactive.  The DG also thanked them for their feedback to NAPTIP stating that “feedback is very important in our work as it makes us know where we are doing well and what we need to do better; that we hear there is now incremental change in attitude and the teenage group are now experiencing minimal cases of SGBV is good news for NAPTIP”. She stated

The DG also enlightened the team about the VAPP Act and the role of the NAPTIP Protection Officers deployed to their communities stating that they should work together to end all forms of SGBV the FCT. She commended the district head of Pigba Chiefdom and encouraged his royal highness to not relent in his efforts and the community members to have zero tolerance for rape and all forms of SGBV.


NAPTIP Holds 2023 First Quarter Hi-Mat and SPARC Meetings


The Hi-Level Multi-Agency Task Team (Hi-MAT) and Service Providers Accountability Resource Committee (SPARC) first quarter meetings held on the 9th and 10th of February, respectively. NAPTIP coordinates the implementation of the provisions of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (VAPP) through these implementation platforms that is, the HiMAT and SPARC. These platforms are aimed at building synergy amongst its members as well as enhance coordination in the successful implementation of the VAPP Act. Both meetings also form part of the activities under the: ‘Strengthening Government Approach and Commitment to Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria” Project supported by the Ford Foundation.

HiMAT

The HiMAT meeting which was hosted by one of its members, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), was attended by the 10 HiMAT member government institutions; the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Nigerian Police Force, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Correctional Service, National Human Rights Commission, National Identity Management Commission, National Centre for Women Development and the National Bureau of Statistics.

The meeting commenced with welcome remarks from the host – the DG/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz, who welcomed members and noted with concern the various degree of bullying in schools, intimidation at workplaces and increase in domestic violence; thereby necessitating more inclusive participation by mental health practitioners and psychotherapists in aiding the healing and recovery of victims of violence. Further to the concerns noted by NIMC, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, equally noted in her opening remarks that the highest cases reported to NAPTIP in 2022 were Spousal battery followed by rape, infliction of physical injury and abandonment.

In her Remark, the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen OFR commended NAPTIP for the outstanding performance in the last one year. “What NAPTIP is doing is giving us hope, especially in prosecuting offenders of SGBV; the cooperation of the FCT High Court, our proactiveness as a nation has placed Nigeria on the global map as sited by UN in 2020” she stated.

The Honourable Minister also cited some of the laudable achievements of the present administration to include: the adoption of the VAPP Act as Law from 8 states in 2019 to 35 states in 2022; the adoption of the Child Rights Act in 34 States;  Inauguration of the inter-ministerial committee to proffer, synchronize and punish all forms of violence against women and persons in 2021;  increased training personnel working with the Judiciary; electronic dashboard in Federal Ministry of Women Affairs under the EU and UN Spotlight initiative; the launch of the National Sexual Offenders Database (NSOD); at the State level, there is renewed commitments in the protection of the rights of women and children including Persons With Disabilities (PWD); First Ladies Concerned about Gender Based Violence (GBV) coalition established by the first ladies of Nigeria; toll free line and more, she emphasized.

She commended NAPTIP and NIMC for hosting the first quarter Hi-MAT meeting with support from Ford Foundation and encouraged all stakeholders to use the HiMAT forum as an opportunity to take stock of what has been done, and what needs to do done better

Some other highlights from the Meeting include the presentation of the 2021 Annual VAPP Implementation Report in fulfilment of section 42 of the VAPP Act which mandates NAPTIP to submit an annual report to the Federal Government.  The DG presented the Report to the Honourable Minister for Women Affairs, and subsequently to the National Bureau of Statistics, as stipulated by the VAPP Act. Click here to view the VAP Report

Other matters arising was members’ adoption of the proposal by the DG to admit the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of FCT and FCT Judiciary as members of the Hi-MAT given their roles as front-line organizations that can play key roles in achieving the objectives of the VAPP Act. Finally, there was a call for members to feed data into the National Sexual Offenders Database (NSOD), and for more States to link up to the central database, as only 12 States have uploaded their registers to the NSOD.

SPARC

The SPARC members are drawn from Service Providers who are Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Faith Based Organizations based in the FCT. The Meeting of 10th February brought together representatives from: Sexual Offenders Awareness (SOAR) Initiative, Women’s Rights Advancement and protection alternative (WRAPA), Youth Alive foundation, Girls Pride Foundation, Women Trafficking and Child Labor Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), Centa for Organizational Development, Men Against Rape and NAPTIP’s 12 Protection Officers from the 6 FCT Area Councils.

The focus of the meeting was to equally present the 2021 VAPP Annual Implementation Report; encourage service providers to register on the NSOD, and to reinforce the unique roles of each organization towards curbing violence against persons.

During a presentation by the Agency’s ICT department on ‘Understanding the Importance of Effective Data Collection’, it was revealed that that only 90 CSOs were registered on the NSOD and same has been the record for over 2 years. SPARC members were therefore encouraged to sensitize other sister organizations to register to the NSOD. Still on the issue of data, it was noted that many SPARC members failed to submit their contributions for the development of the 2021 Annual VAPP Report despite the development of a reporting template to ease collation of data. This gap was acknowledged by members, who pledged to provide information to the Agency towards the development of the 2022 Annual VAPP Report.

Ultimately, the HiMAT and SPARC meetings are positive steps towards enhancing responses, improve coordination, cooperation and information sharing amongst agencies and organizations responsible for curbing violence against persons.


NAPTIP Strengthens Partnership with Faith-based Organizations (FBO): Director-General Address the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria


In line with Section 5 (I) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 (as amended), and Section 44 of the violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 which mandates the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to collaborate with relevant stakeholders including Faith Based Organizations (FBO) in the fight against human trafficking and violence against persons in Nigeria, the Agency has since inception continue to work with FBOs  and the catholic church has been prominent in this regard. This include collaborative efforts and robust partnerships with Caritas Nigeria, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria and the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria.

It is in the light of the above that the Director General of NAPTIP, Prof.  Fatima Waziri-Azi, on 16th February 2023, honored the invitation of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria to delivered a paper titled “Human Trafficking in Nigeria and the Role of the Catholic Church” during the 2023 Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria which held at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Durumi, Abuja.

In her opening remarks, the DG thanked the leadership of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria for inviting NAPTIP to be part of the proceedings of the 2023 Catholic Bishop conference stating that this marks the second time in 20 years that NAPTIP would participate in this important forum. She thanked the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama for his support towards anti trafficking efforts through the JDPC. She also highlighted the relevance of law enforcement partnering with the church citing example from the Holy Father, the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, who initiated the Santa Marta group on human trafficking and convoked an interfaith network against human trafficking and child labour that has over the years contributed significantly to the anti-modern slavery efforts.

In her paper, the DG highlighted the magnitude of human trafficking in the world in general and Nigeria in particular, the different forms, key drivers, indicators, emerging trends as well as legal framework to counter human trafficking in Nigeria, maintaining that the menace remains a national crisis that requires coordinated efforts of all stakeholders. The DG also noted certain red flags to look out for, and geographical prevalence of different forms of trafficking across the 6 geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

Among other things, the DG requested the support of the Catholic Bishops to assign focal persons to interface between the church and NAPTIP to allow for seamless reportage of trafficking and violence against persons cases; develop standard procedure for catholic run shelters and orphanage homes; collaborate with NAPTIP in setting up vanguards in catholic secondary schools, across the country; mainstream anti trafficking messaging in the catholic Church Media Channels; organize seminars on the dangers of human trafficking, condemning irregular migration and emphasising on regular migration. Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi once again commended the structure of the church as a strong institution with great followership which is a fundamental in curbing human trafficking and violence against persons in Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops, the moderator of the session, Archbishop Augustine Akubuaeze thanked the Director General for her elaborate presentation and reassured the Agency of the church’s unshaken commitments to stand up for rights and dignity of persons and fight against human trafficking. The bishops then took turns to ask their questions and the DG responded.  As part of recommendations, the Catholic Bishops encouraged the federal government of Nigeria to support NAPTIP towards the establishment of NAPTIP offices in all the 36 States of the federation so as to better serve the States.

The session came to an end with the Catholic Bishops showing solidarity with the Agency by raising the Red Card against human trafficking and violence against persons in Nigeria, followed by a prayer for the DG and her Team by His Eminence, John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan.


University of Abuja Strengthens Partnership with NAPTIP: Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’a Allah Paid a Visit to the Director-General


The Vice Chancellor and faculty members of the University of Abuja paid a visit to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on 22nd February 2023. The aim of the visit was to strengthen the already existing partnership between the university and the Agency and to intimate the DG of the University’s Centre for Gender Security Studies and Youth Advancement that Agency’s personnel can take advantage of.

During the visit, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’a Allah commended the DG for her remarkable impact in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence in Nigeria. “We are excited that you are achieving a lot in this space despite the daunting challenges and crisis facing the country, you have remained relentless” he stated. He mentioned that considering the vulnerability of young people to the crime of trafficking it is important to pay attention to them which is why the Centre is running post graduate and masters’ programmes that now includes Gender Studies and Social Work. He also added that working closely with NAPTIP to design programmes that are focused on the real-life challenges around the issues of human trafficking, social work and gender is their goal. He added that through this programmes and DG’s commitment, students will be further sensitized and mobilized to support the work of NAPTIP in a more enhanced way.

Also speaking during the visit, the Director of the of the Centre, Dr. G. S. Ibikunle, mentioned that the centre looks forward to working closely with NAPTIP and welcoming NAPTIP Personnel who desire to advance their education in Gender studies or Social Work.

DG NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, responded by expressing her interest to continue to work with the University of Abuja. The DG stated that she recognizes the relevance of working with universities and is always willing to partner with higher institutions. She commended the university leadership for its foresight in creating programmes in gender and social work, stating that it aligns with the Agency’s mission in tackling trafficking in persons and violence against persons though a people-centered access to justice and provision of safe spaces. The DG also shared the Agency commitment to the five strategy approaches of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Policy and Partnership and that the various entry point for the university.

She also highlighted some of the Agency’s past engagements with universities including the debate on use and abuse of technology that happened in recent times involving students from Veritas University and Base University. That there is so much the Agency’s partnership with the university would yield.  The DG concluded by assuring the Vice Chancellor of NAPTIP’s support to the Centre for Gender Security Studies and Youth Development and that NAPTIP would offer scholarship to five of her deserving personnel to undertake programme in Gender studies or Social Work.


NAPTIP Deploys Officers to 6 Local Government Area Councils of the FCT to Monitor the 2023 Nigerian General Elections and Create Awareness on the Consequence of Political Violence


Section 23 and 24 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (VAPP Act) which is implemented by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja prohibits all forms of Political Violence including those perpetrated by State Actors. This provision is also applicable to the 34 States across the country that have adopted the VAPP Act as law.

Section 23 (1) provides that ‘’A person who commits a political violence as defined under this Act relating to political violence commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding four years or a fine not exceeding N500,000.00 or both’’. The section also made provision for: Attempts to commit the crime, Inciting, Aiding, Abetting or Counselling another to commit the crime as well as Whoever receives or assists another who committed the crime.  The Act defines political violence as ‘’any act or attempted act of violence perpetrated in the course of political activities, such as elections, and include: thuggery, mugging, use of force to disrupt meetings; or the use of dangerous weapons that may cause bodily harm or injury.

Section 24 (1) deals with Violence by State Actors states ‘’a State Actor who commits political violence commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding four years or to a fine not exceedingN1,000,000.00 or both. The section also prescribes punishment for anyone who attempts, incites, aids, abets or counsels another person to commit the act of violence as well as any person who receives or assists another who committed the offence. Subsection 5 of section 24 further provided that ‘’the state is liable for the offence committed by its Agents and the court shall award appropriate compensation commensurate with the extent and number of damages;

Owing to the above, NAPTIP set out to enforce the provisions of these sections, with the following objectives:

  • To ensure that political violence is punished;
  • To create awareness of those provisions to members of the public as well as;
  • Ensuring that political violence in Nigeria is reduced during 2023 elections.

To achieve this, officers of the agency were deployed to the six area councils  of the FCT to create awareness and sensitize the public on political violence and punishments provided under the Violence Against Persons Act 2015,  IEC materials were distributed to the public with information’s and warnings about political violence and reporting channels. With support from Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), NAPTIP also produced audio and visual jingles aired on radio and across our social media handles on political violence, punishments and reporting channels. (Please find the link to the jingles below: https://www.facebook.com/100064545706129/posts/560948066066712/?mibextid=3fLNHb4TpuQXai7D) and https://fb.watch/iSfzt39Z9P/?mibextid=2Rb1fB . and links to the audios below:

English Version


Pidgin Version


On election day, 60 NAPTIP officers were deployed to all the area councils; Abaji, AMAC, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje, and Kwali, to monitor the elections. NAPTIP officers visited about 550 polling units across Abuja and the NAPTIP call centre received over 100 calls. The exercise was a success on the part of NAPTIP and we are currently investigating some reported cases of political violence for possible prosecution.


NAPTIP E-Digest is a monthly Newsletter to extend NAPTIP’s reach and continue to create awareness and sensitize the public on the activities of NAPTIP and the evils of human trafficking and violence against persons. It also projects various NAPTIP platforms for seeking help.

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