EU, UNODC, Stakeholders Call for Increased Awareness on Human Trafficking

The European Union (EU) and its partners beam the searchlight on efforts to eliminate trafficking in persons, to bring perpetrators to justice and to protect and assist trafficked victims on the occasion of the 'European Union Anti-Trafficking Day' marked in Abuja on October 18, 2017. Every year, the EU Anti-Trafficking Day brings together all relevant actors working for eradicating trafficking in human beings around the world.

Trafficking in human beings is specifically prohibited by the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which both Nigeria and the European Union (EU) have signed and ratified. It is also prohibited by Nigeria's Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 and by Article 5 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The EU, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and the Network of Civil Society Organizations Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) have been partnering successfully under the project "Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria". Among the many objectives of the project, one has been focusing on raising awareness on the realities of trafficking in human beings. The annual commemoration of the EU anti-trafficking day is one example of initiatives taken to serve such an objective.

The need for the world to stand strong together for the victims of this heinous crime resonated strongly last month in New York when the UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged nations to unite and counter the menace of human trafficking during a high-level meeting of the General Assembly. The Secretary-General remarked that "fighting human trafficking requires us to make greater use of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, … and other relevant instruments. It also requires much stronger cooperation among the Member States, involving the full range of their instruments."

The Nigerian government has developed several sets of measures to address the issue of trafficking in persons. These include the passage of an anti-trafficking legislation, the establishment of a specialised anti-trafficking agency, prosecution of offenders and massive awareness raising. NGOs have also played a significant role in prevention and elimination of human trafficking, as well as providing rehabilitation and support services to returnees.