UNODC and NAPTIP strengthen international cooperation to combat human trafficking

Lagos 4 April -Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a transnational organized and thus requires the cooperation of every country to combat. Nigeria has been identified as a source, transit and destination country for TIP and there is a need to maintain and strengthen already existing relationships with other countries to improve networking and increase cooperation efforts towards the fight against TIP.

In the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons (UNTOC), States are required to cooperate with one another to effectively combat TIP. Article 10 specifically outlines need for information exchange and training amongst state parties ‘’Law enforcement, immigration or other relevant authorities of States Parties shall, as appropriate, cooperate with one another by exchanging information, in accordance with their domestic law’’. It is against this backdrop that NAPTIP, in 2014, established the Embassy/Liaison initiative to strengthen cooperation, collaboration, networking and partnership between the Agency and the international community towards the fight against trafficking in persons.

On 28 March 2022, NAPTIP in collaboration with UNODC held the seventh Embassy Liaison meeting organized under the UNODC project ‘Strengthening Nigeria’s Criminal Justice response to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (PROMIS) funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands. The meeting which has been agreed to hold every quarter, had in attendance representatives from 19 embassies and high commissions in Nigeria, including those of Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, France, Gambia, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Lebanon, Mali, Netherlands, Niger Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, United States of America. Also in attendance were representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), INTERPOL, ECOWAS and the European Union.

The NAPTIP DG, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi in her opening remark, appreciated the continuous collaboration and partnership with all the embassies and their governments, and their assistance to the Agency. She also stressed the critical need for the timely sharing of information and intelligence in the fight against trafficking in persons (see - https://web.facebook.com/search/top?q=naptip%20nigeria). She informed participants of some of the latest trends in human trafficking which had emerged in the context of NAPTIP’s operational work including: recording of nude video of victims as control mechanism, recruitment of victims online, as well as the “Qlink or Qnet‘’ developments where victims, especially young boys and men are trafficked for the purpose of carrying out online scams.

UNODC’s Team Leader for the TIP/SOM programme in Nigeria, Ms. Abimbola Adewumi, in her opening remarks, reiterated UNODC’s commitment to provide continuous support to NAPTIP, including by strengthening its networks, channels and methods for improved international cooperation. As such, UNODC in close consultation with NAPTIP already facilitated multiple cooperation platforms, as well as specific joint operations with various countries in the region. Moreover, the deployment of two Nigerian Liaison Magistrates by the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation to Spain and Italy was yielding considerable operational results in all three countries as well as other European jurisdictions.

In conclusion, she informed participants of the plans by UNODC to bring together law enforcement officers dealing with various types of cases of transnational organized crime, including trafficking in persons, with their respective counterparts across relevant European jurisdictions with the aim of sharing experiences and insights in tackling transnational organized crime of Nigerian origin as well as to engage in bilateral case consultations.

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The project Response to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria continues to assist Nigeria in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 16. As such it forms an integral part of UNODCs 2030 Strategic Vision for Nigeria.