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April 20, 2024

NAPTIP, FIIAPP advocate strong action against human trafficking

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By Olatunde Ajayi
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in collaboration with the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) has called for strong action against the menace.

The collaboration is aimed at addressing human trafficking said to be posing serious security challenge.

The call was made on Tuesday at a two-day public awareness and anti-human trafficking campaign programme organised for community leaders, law enforcement agents/officers at the border posts and other stakeholders held in Saki, Oyo State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FIIAPP is a Spanish Government Foundation in Nigeria implementing European Union funded project through the Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Project (A-TIPSOM).

A-TIPSOM project is tackling human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in Nigeria through 5Ps, which include Prevention, Protection, Policy, Partnership and Prosecution.

Cross section of stakeholders at the programme.

 

NAN reports that the stakeholders’ forum is to increase the level of awareness about human trafficking and its dangers in border communities.

In his remarks, the Zonal Commander, NAPTIP Lagos, Mrs Comfort Agboko, said that the public awareness programme was aimed at enlighten Saki residents on the dangers and scourge of human trafficking.

Agboko said that human trafficking remains the violation of people’s right, crime against mankind and sin against God.

She said that Saki Town was strategically chosen for the sensitisation programme because of its location as a border town with a lot of foreigners engaging in cross-border trade between Nigeria and the neighbouring countries.

“We discovered that our young ones are being trafficking to other West African countries and rest of the world as soon as they are successfully taken out of Nigeria through border communities like Saki here.

“We believe that if we succeed in raising the counsciousness of our people living in border communities across the country, the human trafficking will be reduced to the bearest minimum,” she said.

Agboko said that the NAPTIP Act has provisions for severe punishment for any human trafficker found guilty after thorough investigation under the law.

“When a suspect is found guilty of child labour after the court process, the minimum punishment is six months imprisonment and maximum of three years imprisonment.

“When a case of trafficking in persons is being suspected, people can reach us on our toll free line 627 to report the case.

“We urge parents not to release their wards to people who promised fake jobs for them somewhere,” Agboko said.

Also, the Head of NAPTIP in Oyo State, Mr Augustine Akanya, said that the community-based programme would simplify and teach Saki residents on the signs, how to know who is being trafficking and how to rescue such people.

“The circumstances of trafficking determines the signs to look for; the person who has been trafficked for labour such as housemaids will be seen look distress, crying or at times with different marks on their bodies.

“Some of them are being deprived of having education and international trafficking victims will be seen naive, always withdrawn and unable to give clear answers to questions about their destination.

“We want people to always alert NAPTIP whenever they noticed these signs and other strange signs on a child in their neighbourhood,” Akanya said.

Commenting, Mr Joseph Sanwo, the Senior Project Officer and Technical Adviser, Prevention in FIIAPP, said that human trafficking posed serious security challenge to a nation.

According to Sanwo, human trafficking poses serious security challenge to a nation as it can easily diversify to other forms of crimes such as drug trafficking, arms smuggling and money laundering.

“The community leaders have a lot of roles to play in supporting government and other partners in stemming the tides of this heinous crimes being perpetuated in their domain.

“The project aims to provide mass awareness in the community and within its environs.

“It shares with community new ideas on how to identify and escape the antiques of human traffickers; and create working synergy between the community leaders and the law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Sanwo noted that lots of traffickers and their agents always take advantage of parents that relied on relations, religion associates and friends to take care of their children by pretending to assist them in the upbringing of those children.

The technical adviser reiterated the continuous support of FIIAPP in the fight against human trafficking to the Federal Government through NAPTIP, security agencies, the Network of CSOs Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) and other critical stakeholders.

Earlier, the Okere of Saki, who also was the Royal Father of the Day, Oba Khalid Olabisi, urged parents to always give birth to number of children they know that they could conveniently cater for.

Olabisi said that children from families with lack of basic means of survival always end up becoming victims of human trafficking.

He, then called on the government to step up its various empowerment programmes through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and resuscitation of farm settlements to boost job opportunities in the country.

NAN reports that the awareness programme featured the inauguration of the Anti-human trafficking neighbourhood

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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