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.
The NAPTIP E-Digest is a platform created by the Director – General in line with her resolve to extend NAPTIPs 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. The August edition is dedicated to the activities of the 2022 Anti – Trafficking week.
The 30th of July every year is regarded as a day to promote awareness on the dangers of human trafficking. This year’s theme is “Use and Abuse of Technology”, it focuses on the role technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.
With the rise globally in the use of technology, also heightened by COVID – 19 pandemic and its attendant protocols, there has been a radical shift to the use of online platforms. This has increased the exploration of online and internet platforms for human trafficking. The internet and digital platforms offer traffickers numerous tools to recruit, exploit and control victims; organise logistics for their travel and accommodations; advertise victims and reach out to potential clients; communicate among perpetrators; and hide all criminal proceeds with improved invincibility, speed, cost effectiveness and anonymity.
The use of technology also provides a smoother platform for these perpetrators to operate across jurisdictions faster, grooming, identification and recruiting of victims at will. Traffickers use social media as a tool for moral coercion of the victims and online platforms to allow traffickers to widely advertise services provided by victims.
However, there is also a great opportunity in the use of social media. Future success in eliminating human trafficking will depend on how law enforcement, the criminal justice systems and others can leverage technology in their responses, through aiding investigations on the operations of trafficking networks; enhancing prosecutions through digital evidence to ease the situation of victims in criminal proceedings; and providing support services to survivors.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), under the stewardship of the present Director General, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, has continued to maintain a robust working relationship with the media community to enhance the visibility of the Agency.
It came as no surprise that media engagement formed a crucial part of the activities lined up for the just concluded “2022 World Day against Human Trafficking”. The event kicked off on Monday, July 25th 2022. The Director – General addressed a Press conference. Over 40 media Houses from Print, Electronics and online media attended the event held in the Director – General’s Boardroom of the Agency. The pressmen were addressed by the Director General and later the floor was open for interaction.
This was followed on Wednesday, July 27th with a studio Appearance on the Breakfast programme on Channel’s and Sunrise TV stations. The DG spoke about the dimensions of human trafficking, the prevalence of the crime, achievements of the Agency and other vital issues.
She also appeared on the NTA programme “Issues of the Moment” to interrogate the issues relating to the elements of human trafficking, victim identification in a bid to create more awareness on the dangers of human trafficking and its indicators.
On Friday, the media was invited to cover the sensitization walk against human trafficking which took off from the old parade ground and ended at the Unity Fountain in Maitama and the Novelty football match on Saturday 30th July 2022.
The grand finale of the celebration was held on Monday, 1st August 2022. The presence of the media partners were visible at the event.
Awareness creation/public enlightenment is an important and integral component in the prevention of human trafficking, and other related offences.
In commemoration of world day against human trafficking, which is celebrated annually on July 30. The Agency priotised public enlightenment and awareness creation as one of its major activities of the 2022 celebration. For three days, officers of NAPTIP set out to target locations such as Jabi Motor Park, Wuse Market and Durumi Market for massive enlightenment.
The message was to encourage them to abstain from any form of trafficking and violence against persons. The Park authorities and the motorists gave NAPTIP Officers a warm welcome, appreciated the Agency and also pledged to assist in their own capacity through reporting of cases or any suspicious activities by passengers or potential victims of trafficking. The officers present encouraged them to visit the agency for complaints or clarification of any issues and also to take advantage of the NAPTIP short code 627 for reporting of suspicious activities. NAPTIP IEC materials were distributed at the venue.
At the Wuse Market, the turnout was massive and the interactive. Most people were delighted to have NAPTIP come to them to educate them and they commended the agency for coming.
POUND OF HEART
“Pound of Heart” is the title for the short film on organ trafficking by the NAPTIP Drama Club because it describes the adrenaline rush by the victims who thought their lives were about to be over until the perfectly timed intervention of NAPTIP officers.
The NAPTIP Drama Club was created on the 13th of September 2018 and has proven to be a prominent part of the Agency as it creates awareness through short films, which have caught the attention of youths and the general public at large.
The sad reality is that eighty percent (80%) of Nigerian youth want to “japa” (runaway) from the country for many reasons. The desperation has led a lot of people into the wrong hands. As such, NAPTIP uses its Drama Club as one of its many methods to sensitize the Nigerian society.
The short film was produced by the NAPTIP Drama Club under the A-TIPSOM project implemented by FIIAPP and funded by the European Union. The movie was written by Olanrewaju Elegbede and directed by Samuel Okoroji, coordinated by Mrs. Angela Agbayekhai and 36 members of the NAPTIP drama club from the Headquarters and Lagos zonal command were featured. The movie was produced in April, 2022, and was set in both Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria.
The movie premiered at the Silverbird Cinemas, Central Business District Abuja on the 27th of July 2022 as part of activities to mark this year’s world day against trafficking in persons. The Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi stated that the theme of the movie was in sync with the 2022 World Day Against Human Trafficking. The World Day Against Human Trafficking provides another opportunity to create awareness on human trafficking. The use of drama and movie is another avenue to capture the younger generation.
A panel discussion was held after the movie premier which focused mainly on organ trafficking and was moderated by Mrs. Angela Agbayekhai, Head Intelligence and International Cooperation Unit of NAPTIP. The panel x-rayed section 20 of the Trafficking in Persons’ Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act (2015) which criminalises organ harvesting and trafficking. Other members of panel were of Mr. Daniel Atokolo, the acting Director of Investigation and Monitoring NAPTIP, Mrs. Chinyere Eyoh, the Executive Director of SOAR and Mrs. Adebayo Wuraola – research officer with the Federal Ministry of Health. They all made notable points in regards to organ harvesting, which includes the commercialization of organ or tissue donations prohibited by section 53 of the National Health Act (Ethical Transplant of Human Organs and Tissues in line with Sections 48 – 58 of the National Health Act (2104)).
The movie premier was attended by representatives of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and organizations including Federal Ministries, Security and Law Enforcement Agencies, Civil Society organizations, Development partners and the media.
INTER – UNIVERSITY DEBATE
As part of Activities marking the 2022 world day against trafficking in persons, NAPTIP organized an Inter – Unversity debate, to discuss the central theme of the week – “Use and Abuse of Technology. The debate featured two schools namely; Baze Universitu Abuja and Veritas University Abuja. This debate was divided into first stage and the Grandfinale. The first stage took place on Thursday, the 28th of July, 2022, at Gurara Hall, Rockview Hotel Abuja. The event kicked-off with the opening remark by the Director General of NAPTIP Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi.
In her speech, she agreed with the idea to engage the youth especially undergraduates who make the most use of the internet. She went further to express her gratitude to the Agency’s partners for their constant support and also in contributing to making the event a reality. She also used the medium to urge young Nigerians to be careful of these new methods/antics employed by traffickers on the internet to lure young people especially with offers that may come off as ‘‘juicy’’. She said and I quote “The grass is not always greener on the other side”.
The debate immediately kicked-off with the representatives of both schools, while Baze Universty argued that “Technology is an enabler to human trafficking”, Veritas University argued that “Technology is an important tool in curbing human trafficking”. There were three (3) speakers from each university.
Baze University went ahead to present their argument that technology has done more harm than good and has made human trafficking more sophisticated in a way that those who perpetrate this act can hardly be tracked or traced. The team also argued that technology now enables traffickers to create fake websites and also post advertisement on legitimate employment portals to lure vulnerable individuals.
However, the opposing team from Veritas university raised a contending argument that in as much as traffickers make use of technology (the internet) to carry out their activities, organizations such as NACTAL, NAPTIP, UNODC etc. are using the internet to sensitize millions of Nigerians on a daily basis. They also argued that technology makes it easier and faster to track, arrest and punish offenders.
On the 1st of August, 2022 the finals of the debate commenced with Veritas University representative stating the role technology plays in the area of awareness creation. She further stressed on how technology can be leveraged in combatting human tracking in the country. She argued that section 39 of the 1999 constitution as amended provided for the right to information (section 89) also provided for the admissibility of electronic evidence in court. She went on to say that without the use of technology NAPTIP would not be able to provide electronic evidence in court to be used in the prosecution of the offenders. She closed by citing the case of NAPTIP vs.Olujuni in 2018 as an example of how they use their mobile phone as a means of communication was used for evidence in court.
On the other hand, the representative of the BAZE University argued that technology promotes Human trafficking in the country, she further stated that since the emergence of technology, communication has been made easy therefore enabling traffickers to communicate easily instead of aged means of communication. She proved her point on how technology/communication aids trafficking by posting fake job/educational offers on social media platforms enabling victims to look for greener pastures and, in that way, expose themselves to potential traffickers.
At the end of all debates, BAZE University won the Inter – University debate by scoring 88% out of 100%, while Veritas University scored 78% out of 100%. The Director General, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi and other dignitaries presented Awards to the winners and participants.
THE NOVELTY FOOTBALL MATCH
Held on the 30th of July 2022, the novelty football match between the NAPTIP football club against other MDAs and the Agency’s partners, took place at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja from 7 am. In attendance were the Director General, NAPTIP Directors, The Federation of Public Service Games Association (FEPSGA), NAPTIP officers, CSO’s, Development Partners, the media and other members of the public.
The ceremony kick-off with opening remarks from the Director-General and representatives of NAPTIP’s partner organizations. This was followed by the Director-General’s official kick–off.
The players of Team NAPTIP and Team FEPGA All – Stars and officials were introduced to the field. After an exciting 90 minutes, Team NAPTIP won the match with a score of 2 – 1. The two sets of players were given medals for their effort, and the winning team was handed the gold trophy.
THE GRAND FINALE
The Grand Finale was the climax of the week-long activities marking the 2022 World Day Against Human Trafficking.
In a clear demonstration of renewed commitment and commendable political will, the Federal Government of Nigeria promised to scale efforts and double its strategies in the area of prosecution, prevention, protection, policy, and partnership toward the eradication of human trafficking in Nigeria.
The Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, (GCON) gave the commitment on the occasion of the grand finale of the 2022 World Day Against Human Trafficking organized by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) held at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
The event which had in attendance members of the Diplomatic Communities, Heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies, Representatives of Development Partners, Members of the Civil Society Organization (CSOs) Representatives of other Law Enforcement Agencies, members of Research Institutions and Academic Communities and the media, was the most exciting as both the United States of America and other partners rated NAPTIP high in its counter trafficking efforts.
The Vice President said “Human trafficking remains a great threat to the human capital of any nation and its overall economic development. The challenges we jointly face in tackling it are enormous because these are complex and diverse, and requires proactive interventions.
In her address, the Director General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri – Azi, outlined some of the recent achievements of the Agency and assured dignitaries that the Agency will continue to work assiduously through the deployment of appropriate strategies to outsmart the traffickers.
Other Stakeholders pledged their continuous support to the fight against human trafficking and praised the efforts of the Director-General so far.
The Highpoint of the well – attended event was the final of the Inter-Agency debate between the Veritas and Baze Universities. At the end of the impressive debate, Baze University won the debate.