UNODC partners NAPTIP, trains State Task Forces against human trafficking

Lagos, 14 June 2022 - The Global Report of Trafficking in Persons of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released in 2020 has shown an increase in figures of victims of human trafficking across the globe, with Nigeria leading in cross border and internal trafficking in Sub-Saharan Africa. With children being most affected in West Africa, there is an urgent need to sensitize stakeholders with a view to soliciting broader preventive action in particular at the grassroots level.

Between 2007 and 2015, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP embarked on series of advocacy visits to States, meeting with State Governors and members of their Executive Councils, traditional and community leaders and local non-government organisations (NGOs).

Subsequent to one of these visits, the Edo State Government enacted in 2017 a law on human trafficking and set up a Task Force for the administration and enforcement of the law. Inspired by the example set by Edo State, NAPTIP embarked on a drive aimed to encourage other State Governments to set up similar task forces within their states. As of today, 21 such state task forces to prevent and counter trafficking in person have been set up across Nigeria.

In February 2021, UNODC in collaboration with NAPTIP commissioned a desk review and needs assessment of State Task Forces (STFs) established to combat human trafficking to ensure targeted support is provided.

Findings from the desk review showed that aside from Edo State Task Force, all the other STFs need substantial support to be able to properly fulfill their intended mandate. Lagos and Delta are taking steps to enact laws that will enshrine the STFs into the state statutes.

The needs assessment carried out in 4 states (Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti and Delta), identified training needs, structural/sustainability needs as well as needs to strengthen cooperation and coordination among relevant stakeholders within the state and to enhance the capacity of STFs to identify, rescue, refer and report the victims of human trafficking.

Between March and June 2022, UNODC has trained five STFs (Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Delta, and Anambra)

This intervention is to mirror the whole-government, multi-sectoral cooperation among states parties promoted In the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants (UNTOC).

Speaking on behalf of the Director General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, in his opening remarks, the zonal commander, Benin Command, Nduka Nwanwene enjoined participants to become active vanguards of anti-human trafficking.

The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Ondo State, Sir Charles Titiloye, urged the National Broadcasting Commission to discourage flagrant advertisement of greener pastures which often was playing into the hands of human traffickers.

During her presentation, the Chairman of United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, Dame Julie Okah-Donli underscored the intrinsic relationship between human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence and other crimes in the society, stressing that it is a fight for the government and society at all levels.

At the end of the workshop, participants were able to develop the workplan for their states and align it with the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking in Nigeria (2022-2026)