Nigeria heeds global call, sets up State Task Force against human trafficking

Abuja, 30 July, 2019 - In its efforts to decrease vulnerabilities to trafficking of women, children and youth, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is partnering state and non-state actors to establish Task Forces on Human Trafficking. The establishment of these bodies reflects a multi-sectoral response - state as well as non-state actors - to raise awareness, protect victims of trafficking, increasing their access to justice as well as rehabilitation and provide support to prosecution of traffickers. 

The establishment of State Task forces is an essential component of UNODC project titled, "Strengthen the capacities of state and non-state institutions to assist, support and protect Victims of Trafficking (VoT) in Nigeria" implemented in partnership with NAPTIP and funded by the US Government. A major output of the project is to support an improved partnership coordination in the referral process for the support and protection of trafficked victims. The first State Task Force was established by the Edo State Government followed by Ondo, Delta and Ekiti states). Other States are expected to follow soon.

In his statement to commemorate the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, says "Tackling human trafficking brings us closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which call for eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, combatting organized crime and eradicating forced labour, abuse, exploitation and violence against children. Fighting this global scourge means building a society that leaves no-one behind."

In 2018, UNODC released the Report on Trafficking in Persons which revealed that identification of victims of human trafficking and conviction of traffickers is globally on the rise which could be due to increased state capacities in the related areas. Unfortunately, thein comparative perspectives, Nigeria still has a low conviction rate of human traffickers.

It is therefore, imperative that the Nigeria government demonstrate a strong commitment in their response at all levels to counter human trafficking. Against this backdrop, the establishment of task forces with the participation of key stakeholders -donors, development partners, law enforcement agencies, MDA's, NGO's traditional rulers, Faith based organisations - is a timely move and is also.   in line with the theme for this year's World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - marked annually on 31 July - which is 'Human Trafficking: Call your Government to action'.

The intervention is also in line with the whole of government, multi-sectoral cooperation approach promoted under the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons especially of women and children. Also called Palermo  Protocols, it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 55/255 on 31 May 2001. The treaty entered into force on 3 July 2005 and ratified by Nigeria on 28 June 2001. As of May 2019, 117 parties, including 116 states and the European Union have signed the protocols.