The effort of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in tackling incidence of human trafficking received a major boost as a consortium of development partners and other stakeholders has organized a boot camp for members of State Task Forces on Human Trafficking from 9 states of the Federation.
The development which is first of its kind came just as the Director General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri – Azi alerted of an increase in online human trafficking activities and the preparedness of the Agency to step up its and nip such activities in the bud.
It was a memorable programme as all the partners took turn one after the other to pledge support to the Federal Government of Nigeria through NAPTIP in effort to curb human trafficking in the Country.
In her speech, Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri – Azi said, let me commend the immense support of our collaborating partners – Expertise France, UNODC, IOM, and FIIAPP, for supporting this novel initiative. This is one of the collaborative activities that we felt we needed to undertake, as this provides an avenue for us to collectively take a step back, assess the level and effectiveness of the various task forces across the country, examine successes and setbacks, in theory and in practice.
” This boot camp is aimed at strengthening partnership among states taskforce by providing a veritable platform for information sharing and peer review on good practices of the various activities in your respective States.
“Although trends and proportionality may differ, all states in Nigeria are currently affected by human trafficking. According to NAPTIP statistics from 2019- 2022, analysis shows that 61% of human trafficking in Nigeria happens internally (that is within the state and across state lines) and 39% across our borders.
“Clearly, we have a national crisis on our hands which is why a forum such as this, is a necessity for in-depth interactions among state and non-state actors on what works and areas that require improvement in line with sub-objective 5.1.2 of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking in Nigeria (2022-2026).
“After the inauguration of the States Taskforce on human trafficking in 20 States in collaboration with all our partners, with 2 more States scheduled in be inaugurated in August, NAPTIP thought it needful to go deeper rather than wider, take stock on the impact of the Taskforces at the subnational levels, especially in endemic communities. From the analyses so far, some States have achieved tremendous strides, especially in the area of awareness creation, identification, rescue, referral and rehabilitation of trafficked persons.
“Similarly, in the area of enforcement, since NAPTIP is the focal Agency empowered to prosecute all forms of human trafficking in Nigeria, the Agency has enjoyed intelligence sharing and other supportive actions which accounts for some key milestones recorded in the area of prosecution. So far the Agency has recorded a total of 523 Convictions, 25 convictions and counting for 2022 (the latest two convictions where secured in Katsina state). We still have 252 ongoing cases in various courts in Nigeria”, the Director General said.
In his speech, the Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Oliver Stolpe said “The principal purpose of this boot camp, however, is to bring together the members of all the 21 state task forces on human trafficking (Delta, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti, Anambra, Ebonyi, Borno, Benue, Kano, Edo, Ogun, Oyo, Enugu, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Jigawa, Rivers and Katsina) with the leadership of NAPTIP, relevant NGOs active in the fight against trafficking and international development partners for all of us to engage in a peer-to-peer exchange of experiences and joint learning exercise.
“We hope that hereby we will strengthen our collective capacity to, identify victims, recruiters and traffickers alike, learn more about the tricks of the traffickers – how they select their victims, how they lure them in, and the various methods and forms of creating and sustaining the exploitative relationships”
“We will also work together in enhancing our capability to collect and share intelligence with each other and develop “protocols for action”.
“Finally, we intend to use this opportunity to engage collectively in trend analysis with a view to allowing us to become more skillful as well as pro-active in identifying new trends, adjusting our responses both in terms of intelligence gathering as well as in raising awareness among potential victims, friends and families, traditional ruler, community leaders and religious leaders, teachers and social workers, as well as the public at large”, Mr. Oliver Stolpe said.
Speaking also, Project Manager of the Expartise France, Mr. Benjamin Eneanya, said, “The State Taskforces as a strategy to combat human trafficking brings together Government, Law Enforcement, Government Agencies and CSO’s at state level with coordination from NAPTIP as well as support from International Partners. This is a clear example of whole of Government and whole of society collaboration in addressing a common problem.
“The first state taskforce was set up by the Edo State government in 2017 and subsequently NAPTIP with the help of International Donor Organization have established about 20 other State Taskforces, thereafter.
“I must commend NAPTIP for this initiative and I hope that sooner than later all states of the Federation will have a State Taskforce to ensure effective coordination in the fight against human trafficking. I wish to thank the European Union, our donor which is in the front line in the fight against human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is unfortunately a sad reality in this world, but with the sincere commitment as shown by the International community and national partners in making this state taskforce peer review a reality I believe we shall win the battle and protect our citizens from slavery, human trafficking slavery.
Representative of the Team Leader of FIIAPP, Mr. Jose Nsang listed some of the interventions of FIIAPP to include Review of National Policy on Protection and Assistance to Trafficked Persons, Research on Trends, Magnitude and Patterns of TIPSOM in Nigeria conducted, Sensitization of key figures in border communities, Reconditioning of Shelters across the country, Development of SOP on SOM, Supply of Intelligence Gathering Equipment to Project Beneficiaries, Hosting of Judges’ Conference 2022 Establishment of WACTIPSOM, Return of 15 Nigerian girls stranded in Mali and Hosting of 2021 National Migration Dialogue.
He said. “I do celebrate our long list of achievements, and I celebrate specially the State Taskforces, as this is what brought us here today. But what I celebrate more, and I am excited about it, is what I expect we are going to do here in the next 5 days: Coordination and Harmonisation.
“The 4 Implementing Partners executing the 6 projects under which we have supported NAPTIP in inaugurating these State Taskforces, Together with NAPTIP and the States, during 5 days, we are going to be discussing and agreeing on how to do State Taskforces, where to do it, who, what … and this is key if we want those already inaugurated to be effective and sustainable and if we want NAPTIP to do more and succeed.
“I cannot overemphasize more the importance of this, especially as I expect – I better say I wish- three more things to happen: I expect that all the issues to operationalize the already inaugurated State Taskforces will be properly addressed, and necessary actions will be taken as a result of this Bootcamp”, Mr Nsang said.
Representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ms Bertha Nvugulu said, “Coordination create a strategic, coordinated and collaborate framework for a more effective response to TIP and helps stakeholders to bring their expertise together to prevent, identify and protect the victim’s, investigate, and prosecute the perpetrators and facilitate for sustainable solutions.
“In the spirit of delivering as one UN and in close coordination with NAPTIP, IOM has supported the establishment and strengthening of 15 State Task Forces Task across the country. The support includes inauguration of the Task Forces, capacity building (Training and technical support for hosting of coordination meetings).
“Task Forces create an environment in which agencies learn the roles and capacities of other agencies and help to leverage resources. Task Forces provide an opportunity for joint training, create agency buy in and promote dissemination of unified messages to the communities. Operationalization of the task force is key and demands effective leadership and a unified commitment from all stakeholders.
“We pledge our continued support to migration governance and counter trafficking efforts to the federal and State Government and would like to reiterate our continued partnership for facilitating humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all”. IOM Rep said.
Dignitaries at the programme include Chief Deborah Chinwe Oba, Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs, Ebonyi State, Former Executive Secretary of NAPTIP and Solicitor General of Benue State, Mr. Simon Chuzi Egede, Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, ministry of Justice, Kastina State, Mr. Hassan Yusuf, National President of NACTAL, Mr. Abdulganiyu Abubakar, Zonal Commanders from Kano, Oshogbo, Benin, Lagos, Benue, Representatives of Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Benue, Delta, Kano and Anambra States.
The programme is supported by the Kingdom of Netherlands, the United States International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, the European Union and Switzerland Government.
Press Officer, NAPTIP
19th July 2022.