Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Basheer Muhammed, said the two projects, ‘Strengthening Nigeria’s Criminal Justice Response to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants’ (PROMIS), and ‘Strengthening Trans-Regional Action and Responses Against the Smuggling of Migrants’ (STARSOM) will be implemented in partnership with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), NAPTIP, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
At the commemoration of the World Day Against Human Trafficking at the weekend in Abuja, Muhammed said the two projects, which are supported by the Netherlands and Canada, seek to strengthen Nigeria’s capacity to prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (TIPSOM), in line with global best practice, as well as support the country in combating activities of migrants smuggling networks and the threat they pose.
Muhammed, represented by the Head of Legal unit of NAPTIP, said: “this year’s theme, ‘Victim’s Voices Lead the Way’, speaks volume because the impact of exploitation on trafficking victims is so devastating that they are physically, psychologically and emotionally traumatised and are often socially excluded. So, sharing their experiences and elevating their voices would help enlighten and prevent many from falling prey.
“The victims are the vulnerable, the ignorant, the gullible, the desirous men, women, youth and children, among us, who are tricked into slavery as either commercial sex workers, beggars, labourers, domestic workers or drug peddlers. They are tricked by criminal elements masquerading as helpers of destinies.”
United Nations resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said the UN is providing humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking in persons through the UN’s Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, among other support and efforts.
“Despite these significant efforts, Nigeria continues to be a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of human trafficking, and one of the countries with highest number of detected human trafficking victims,” he said.
Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Frantz Celestin, said without adequate access to protection, millions of women, girls, men and boys will continue to suffer exploitation at the hands of traffickers.
He noted that access to protection, rehabilitation and reintegration assistance to fully integrate into their communities will prevent victims from being vulnerable to further exploitation.