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Business News of Friday, 29 April 2022

Source: www.thisdaylive.com

Human trafficking is a challenge of extraordinary magnitude - Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has described the menace of human trafficking as a challenge of extraordinary magnitude that can only be eradicated through deliberate collaborative efforts of all stakeholders both within and outside the country.

Osinbajo lamented that the issues of human trafficking have plagued the country, smearing it as an origin, transit, and destination country.

The Vice President was speaking at the 25th edition of the National Stakeholders Consultative Forum (NSCF) on Trafficking in Persons, and the public presentation of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking (2022-2026).

“As we all know by now; human trafficking is a challenge of extraordinary magnitude. Empirical evidence shows that it is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise with criminals exploiting their victims over and over”.

The VP, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ikpaye, remarked that for years, issues of human trafficking have plagued the country, smearing Nigeria as an origin, transit, and destination country.

He said: “Trafficking in persons and irregular migration is, without doubt, a National and International concern, especially with a large number of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labor exploitation in various African and European countries, all striving for greener pasture.”

While identifying poverty, underdevelopment, and lack of equal opportunity as major factors encouraging the crime, he disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari-led government recognizing this fact has encouraged the investment in people, especially the young and disadvantaged.

“It is for this reason that, since 2015, this administration has consistently developed policies, programs, and initiatives targeted at addressing poverty, providing equal opportunities for women, supporting entrepreneurs, and micro, small and medium businesses, creating jobs for young people, and challenging those fundamental inequalities that leave women and children vulnerable to human trafficking,” he said.

He, therefore, emphasized the need for collaboration amongst stakeholders at national and sub-national levels stressing that “We can only win this fight by working together with a common vision”.

The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) Dr. – Fatima Waziri-Azi, listed the achievement of the agency in combating human trafficking and related crimes to include the conviction of 509 persons, stating that in 2022 only it had recorded 13 convictions” and we currently have 261 ongoing cases in various courts across the country. We also have 11 ongoing Mutual Legal Assistance cases. Out of the 11, 2 cases are currently being prosecuted in court (Lagos and Benin)”

The DG added that till date, the agency has been able to rescue 17,636 victims of human trafficking, (394 and counting for the year 2022).

“In February 2022, with the support of FIIAPP, we repatriated 15 women from Mali who had been trapped in forced prostitution for years. There are over 20,000 Nigerian women and girls in Mali trapped in forced prostitution, forced labor and all forms of slavery, who want to come back home. As is in many other African, Arab, Asian and European countries.

“In 2019, the Trafficking in Persons (Control of Activities of Organizations and Centres) Regulation was issued by the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation. The Regulation empowers NAPTIP to regulate, control and issue clearance certificates to all travel agents, tour operators and intending travelers for educational excursion, recruitment of labor, sporting activities, cultural and music excursion or competitions and all organizations, shelters and homes offering services for the purpose of rehabilitation of trafficked persons.