International Migrants Day 2020: the role of data in the fight against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants

Abuja, 18 December 2020 – On the International Migrants Day 2020, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reiterates the importance of comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date data for evidence-based and efficient criminal justice and crime prevention strategies against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in Nigeria. Efficient data collection and analysis permits to better understand the current trends and patterns of these crimes including the major forms of exploitation, trafficking and smuggling flows, modus operandi of traffickers and smugglers while also providing crucial information on the profiles of the victims and/or perpetrators involved (gender, age, educational background etc.).

To support Nigeria’s efforts in this field, from 10 to 12 December 2020 UNODC gathered officers from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for a workshop on the use of data in the fight against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. This activity was supported by the Government of Canada, under the project “Strengthening Evidence Based Response against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria”.

NAPTIP and NIS officers from headquarters and the field learned on best practices in collecting, reporting or analyzing data as well as on how they could use it to better fight trafficking and smuggling crimes. NAPTIP and NIS also presented their current data collection methods, explained the challenges they face while discussing ways to improve current efforts. Divided into groups comprising of officers from both agencies, participants benefited from hands-on exercises on how to build a dataset. Building on the workshop outcomes, UNODC will provide further technical assistance to NAPTIP and NIS with the aim to improve both agencies capacities in collecting, analyzing and using data.

Moreover, the Canadian-funded project will also support data collection within the framework of the UNODC Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants. The Observatory gathers information on smuggling of migrants in Nigeria presented on an online platform to go live in 2021. Findings of the Observatory are based on interviews with migrants, law enforcement and migration officers, and cover the creation of smuggling demand, the organization of the migrant smuggling industry and routes connecting Nigeria to other countries in the region and beyond.