The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi, has called on Nigerians to be vigilant and report any case of exploitation
Waziri stated this in Abuja during a stakeholders awareness walk on Monday with the theme: “Footprint of Hope: A 20-year Journey – Join NAPTIP on this historic Freedom Walk.”
The NAPTIP boss emphasised the importance of avoiding involvement in human trafficking situation, but to reach out to NAPTIP and the police through a dedicated call centre, where any incident is observed.
“But I can say that there is now heightened awareness. People are calling out and people are reporting and let me say this, don’t get involved; Don’t try to stop any situation because you’re putting yourself in harm’s way.
“What you should do rather, is reach out to NAPTIP, and the police.We have a 24 hour call center and our toll free number is 0703000,” she said.
She disclosed that there were 48 convictions in 2023, which underlines the continued efforts to combat this heinous crime.
According to her, since 2004, NAPTIP has obtained a total of 624 convictions, with 80 convictions secured in the previous year alone, marking the highest number ever recorded.
“In terms of punishment for human traffickers, Nigeria has a very comprehensive Act enacted in 2003. The Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act provides for 22 different punishments covering issues of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, child labour, trafficking of persons for organ removal, debt bondage, slavery and all slavery-like activities among others.”
On his part, the Programmes Director, Justice, Development, and Peace Commission, JDPC, Timothy Ejeh, urged Nigerians not to leave any victim of trafficking behind.
“We have to carry everybody along and so we are trying to reach every victim of human trafficking by raising awareness and sensitizing the public about the dangers of human trafficking, and to also address traffickers to leave this nefarious trade that is affecting so many lives, including youths, and women.
“I can say a lot has been done by NAPTIP and partners, NAPTIP this year had about 80 persons convicted,and so they have been able to raise the bar but they can actually do better, that is why we are collaborating with them, to raise the bar from what it is right now.
“The CSOs, are JDPC, Earth Spring Intl, Children Against Child Abuse CACA, Health /Justice Development and Peace Initiative, H/JDPI, Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria, FOMWAN, and CEDARSEED Foundation,” Ejeh said.
Also speaking, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mattias Schmale, congratulated NAPTIP on the it’s two decades fight against human trafficking in Nigeria, and restated the need for continued partnership and commitment to the mission.
Schmale said Nigeria has one of the highest number of identified victims of trafficking in West Africa.
“This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons aims to raise awareness of disturbing developments and trends identified by the latest UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. The 2022 report informs us that 41% of West African victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation and 57% for forced labour. Nigerians represent by far the highest number of identified victims of trafficking in West Africa.
“Furthermore, the report shows a significant decrease in the number of Nigerian victims being identified and rescued in Western countries, while witnessing a significant increase in West Africa, the Gulf, and Asia,” he said.