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Human trafficking now largest criminal enterprise, says NAPTIP DG



The Director-General of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, has made it known that the agency is in the final stage of developing the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking in Nigeria (2022-2025).

She said this on Monday in Abuja at the grand finale/award and speech-making day organised by the Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria to mark the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day 2021.

Waziri-Azi lamented that trafficking in persons in Nigeria and West Africa had become the biggest criminal enterprise despite sustained efforts by world governments and the international community.

She said, “Human trafficking is not a problem; it is a crisis! And empirical evidence shows that it has become the third-largest criminal enterprise globally and second among transnational organised crimes, despite sustained efforts by world governments and the international community.

“There can be no graver violation of human rights and fundamental freedom than the trafficking of human beings, whether for sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude or other contemporary forms of exploitation, which is why this crime must be jointly fought and efforts scaled using more sophisticated and strategic measures that are evidence-based.”

Discussing NAPTIP’s efforts to contain the menace, she said, “We are stepping up our efforts by applying a 24-hour all-hands-on-deck approach to all cases of trafficking in persons as well as prioritise the prosecution of high-profile traffickers, enhance the prevention of trafficking in persons through sustained and amplified awareness creation that is designed to educate people about human trafficking, its violence and what drives it, especially at the sub-national levels, and protection and the assistance of survivors.”

She added that NAPTIP was at the final stages of developing the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking in Nigeria (2022-2025) with the support of Switzerland and technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Speaking at the event, the Project Team Leader of A-TIPSOM, Rafael Molina, said although the European Union and the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies would not stop supporting the Federal Government in the fight against human trafficking through A-TIPSOM, its official partnership with the government would expire in 2023.

He  said, “A-TIPSOM began in 2018 through an agreement between the EU and the Government of Nigeria to rescue trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

“We will always continue to support the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria. However, the support of FIIAPP and the EU is going to last until 2023. Until then, let’s see.

“Rest assured; Nigeria will continue to receive our support in the anti-trafficking war.”

The event, which began on Friday, closed with the presentation of awards to winners of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day Essay Competition 2021.

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