The Nigerian government and its Canadian counterpart on Tuesday vowed to scale up efforts at stemming the tide of trafficking in persons and migrants smuggling.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persona (NAPTIP) said both countries through the technical partner; Ark Group will promote projects to consolidate on the agency’s past achievements, with intended projects being the re-designing and re-development of the NAPTIP iReporter mobile App; community-based sensitization campaigns; Capacity building for NAPTIP officials and deployment of a NAPTIP Learning Hub
The Director General, of NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi, said the project will support the ongoing NAPTIP On the Move weekly television Programme and a radio programme to enhance awareness creation on issues of human trafficking, migrant smuggling and irregular migration, especially amongst young people in rural areas and urban poor communities
Waziri-Azi said In 2022, NAPTIP received 1,440 reported cases of trafficking in persons of which 412 were external trafficking cases (28.6%) and 1,028 internal trafficking cases (71.4%).
She noted that 2,743 victims were rescued in collaboration with other sister law enforcement agencies; male children were 233 (8.5%); female children – 688 (25.1%); male adults – 363 (13.2%); and female adults – 1,459 (53.2%)
The DG said: “Victims of inward trafficking were 45, that is victims trafficked into Nigeria; Returned victims from abroad were 251 and Intercepted victims were 1,484, that is, those who were on their way out of Nigeria.
“Most of these victims are trafficked by road through our borders all across the country. We also secured 80 convictions in 2022; 45 males and 35 females.”
Waziri-Azi said there are 17 convictions for 2023 and, cumulatively, the agency has secured 592 convictions since its first conviction in 2004, adding that 262 cases are in various courts across the country.
To keep up with the evolving trend of human trafficking, she said the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act of 2015 is currently undergoing amendment at the National Assembly to incorporate current trends in human trafficking (orphanage trafficking, use of children in brothels) and provide for stiffer penalties.
The representative of the High Commission of Canada in Nigeria, James Christoff, stated their commitment to partnering with NAPTIP to prevent human trafficking and migration by providing funding, training, capacity building, and strategic communication.
Christoff said: “We can only win this fight through collaboration.”