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Nigerian Government launches tools to identify victims of trafficking

Jumoke Ogidan,Abuja

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The Nigerian Government in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration, IOM have launched a harmonized screening and trafficking tools for the identification of trafficking victims.

The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Senator Garba Basheer Mohammed, and the IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Franz Celestine, made the unveiling at the commemoration of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital.

30th of July is a day set aside annually by the United Nations to commemorate the World Day Against Human Trafficking in Persons. As declared by the UN, the day is earmarked to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and the promotion and protection of their rights.

Senator Mohammed who was represented by the Director, Legal and Prosecution Counsel, Barrister Hassan Attahiru, said the tools which would be used to curb the crime of human trafficking were developed by the Agency with other stakeholders.

“The harmonized screening and trafficking tools were developed by NAPTIP, the National Immigration Service, NIS, the Nigerian Police Force,NPF, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and Civil Society Organisations with the support of the IOM.”

 

Presenting the documents of the standardized approach to victims’ identification and screening tools, NAPTIP’s Director, Research and Programmes Development, Mr Olubiyi Olusayo, said that the process to develop a harmonized identification screening and reporting tools commenced in November 2018 in Enugu State, South-east Nigeria, with the support of multi-sectoral stakeholders, and the IOM project of facilitating direct assistance to the victims of human trafficking in Nigeria using the victim-centered approach.

 

He stated that the proper identification of trafficking process is core to the entire protection and assistance process as tracking process leads to the recognized facilitation of victims of other crimes and further emphasized the need for agencies who share the related visions with NAPTIP to work together in curtailing the scourge of human trafficking.

 

“There is need for all agencies to synergize in reporting cases of human trafficking. This would provide an accurate data and evidence-based investigation which will lead to the tender participation of victims of human trafficking and prosecution of offenders of the crime. This can only be achieved if all stakeholders can work together on the same platform.”

 

Mr Olusayo noted that the standardized screening and reporting tools which were validated early in July, 2021, went through a rigorous process of review to ensure that they are comprehensive and can stand the test of time.

 

The tools are intended to promote a standardized approach to victims’ identification, screening and reporting in line with the National Referral Mechanism and the Victim-centered approach among various standard practices to strengthen efforts in the fight against human trafficking at the national and transnational levels especially, with regards to data management to improve evidence-based programming.”

 

The tools therefore, provide a platform for victims to share their experiences, facilitate rescue of others who may be in similar situations and support stakeholders to refer cases to appropriate service providers”  he added.

 

He said that the tools would be rolled out to various parts of the country.

 

Speaking at the launch, IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Franz Celestine, said that to address the challenges with identification of victims of trafficking, IOM facilitated the assistance of traffic-in-persons in Nigeria through a victim-centered approach.

 

Mr Celestine stressed “that due to the multi-dimensional nature of trafficking, IOM is working closely with the Federal Government of Nigeria in various relevant departments to take a victim-centered approach to protection by supporting the improvising of existing shelters to the minimum standards, access to justice through legal hubs for traffic persons, and strengthen state levels and cross-border co-ordination by supporting the establishment of State Task Forces on human trafficking.”

 

The IOM Chief noted that the theme of this year’s WDATIP highlighted the importance of listening and learning from the experiences of the survivors of human trafficking.

 

Also, part of the highlight of this year’s celebration was the unveiling of two projects “Strengthening Nigeria’s Criminal Justice Response to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants” supported by the Netherlands and “Strengthening TransRegional Action and Responses against the Smuggling of Migrants” supported by Canada and implemented by the NAPTIP, UNODC, and OHCHR.

 

These projects would support NAPTIP and NIS in strengthening Nigeria’s Capacity to prevent, investigate and prosecute trafficking in persons in line with the international human rights standards.

 

One of the victims who shared her experience of human trafficking called on the Nigerian government to support NAPTIP in areas of funding for proper reintegration of victims in the society.

 

The theme of this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is “Victims’ Voices lead the way.”

 

 

 

Ime N

 

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