The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has unveiled a new short film as a means of sensitizing the public on the rising trend of organ trafficking. Speaking at the movie premier at Silverbird Cinemas Abuja on Wednesday 27th July, 2022, the Director General of the Agency, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi stated that the theme of the movie is in sync with the 2022 World Day Against Human Trafficking – Use and Abuse of Technology, and that the movie premier was part of activities lined up for the commemoration of the 2022 World Day of Anti-Human Trafficking. Dr. Waziri – Azi advised young people to be mindful of promises of sports contract abroad and seemingly juicy job and scholarship offers, adding that sometimes, young people are deceived with false promises that if their organs are removed, it would grow back or that they are able to live with one organ. This she described as one of the deceptive methods of traffickers.
The Coordinator of the NAPTIP Drama Club, Mrs. Angela Agbayekhai presented the Prologue of the short film. In her speech, she hinted that the movie – POUND OF HEART was conceived by NAPTIP Drama Club, ably supported by the Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, as a means of amplifying awareness. She stated that the major objective of the short film was to deter the crime of organ harvesting, create awareness on legal steps to ethical organ donation and transplantation as well as inform those at risk on available reporting channels. She revealed that the production was conceptualized in April 2022 and was set in Lagos and Abuja Nigeria.
The Coordinator of lnternational and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) Mr. Nsang Andeme Jose, stated in his address that FIIAPP is pleased to partner with NAPTIP in the production of the short film that addresses a major social menace. He informed stakeholders that he is satisfied with the quality of the production.
Reacting to the movie, the Chairman Board of Directors, Media Coalition Against Human Trafficking – MeCAHT – Rtd. Ambassador Asalino Raymond described the movie as creative, as it adequately reflects the ordeals of victims of organ trafficking. In her remarks, the National PRO of Deaf Woman Association of Nigeria Mrs. Uche Andrew who is also the Disability Advocacy Officer of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) said she was impressed by the movie; particularly the fact that it was fully subtitled in English language, thereby making it disability-inclusive. Furthermore, the Programme officer of Expertise France Mr. Benjamin Eneanya described the short film as a beautiful piece and called on development partners to support the production of more short films for sensitization on the subject as this is a key prevention strategy.
The movie premier was attended by representatives of the Federal Ministries of Health, Education, Women Affairs as well as the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. Other Agencies present were Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally displaced Persons and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria. Also present at the movie premier were members of the diplomatic community represented, by Embassies of Denmark and Spain while key development partners who graced the occasion were the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes among others. Members of the Network of Civil Society Organisations Against Child Abuse, Trafficking and Labour (NACTAL) were also present at the movie premier.
The movie premier also featured a Panel discussion with focus on the subject of Organ trafficking which was moderated by Mrs. Angela Agbayekhai. In setting the tone for the discussion, Mrs. Agbayekhai stated that human trafficking for illicit organ removal is criminalized by section 20 of the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act (2015) and that movie production falls under objective 2.3 of the National Action Plan on Human trafficking in Nigeria (2022 – 2026). One of the Panelists Mr. Daniel Atokolo, the Ag. Director of Investigation and Monitoring in NAPTIP described the nexus between human trafficking and harvesting of organ to be very close as victims could be used for both even though recruited for one from the onset. “Victims recruited for human trafficking also end up having their organs harvested by traffickers”, he further explained.
Another Panelist, Mrs. Chinyere Eyoh, Executive Director SOAR Initiative stated that the movie is very apt for awareness creation as it captured details of the recruitment and the horrible ordeal victims go through ending by day and called on both government and individuals to come together to fight the crime. The third panelist, Mrs. Adebayo Wuraola – a Research Officer with the Federal Ministry of Health took time to outline the procedures for ethical transplant of human organs and tissues in line with Sections 48 – 58 of the National Health Act (2014). Mrs. Adebayo emphasized that organ or tissues donation is purely voluntary and no exchange of money is required in the entire transaction. She cautioned against the commercialization of organ or tissue donations is criminalized by Section 53 of the National Health Act (2014).
The short film was produced by NAPTIP, under the A-TIPSOM project implemented by FIIAPP and funded by European Union. The story was originated by Olanrewaju Elegbede, a member of the NAPTIP Drama Club and received professional inputs from teams of Medical Experts and legal Practitioners. The movie was directed by Samuel Okoroji, the Creative Director of the NAPTIP Drama Club; coordinated by Mrs. Angela Agbayekhai, and starred 36 members of the NAPTIP Drama Club in NAPTIP Headquarters and Lagos Zonal Command.