20th anniversary: NAPTIP, UNODC, partners campaign against human trafficking

In celebration of its 20 years anniversary and the 2023 World Day Against Human Trafficking, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other partners, Monday, staged a campaign against human trafficking in Abuja. 

The awareness campaign saw the organisations walking from the Old Parade Ground, the Ministry of Finance Headquarters, Federal Secretariat to the Unity Fountain. 

Addressing participants at the Unity Fountain, the Director General of NAPTIP, Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi, said the awareness walk was important as it will remind everyone of the part they have to play in combating human trafficking. 

She said: “I think it is wonderful to have over 500 people participating in this awareness campaign. It is to remind everyone of the part we have to play in combating human trafficking. We should stop being judgemental of people especially when they fall victim of human trafficking. 

“I have often had conversation with people who say that traffick victims knew what they were getting into. One of the instruments used by traffickers is deceit, promises of good life abroad and job opportunities. So, when you see others in exploitative situations, don’t mind your business. I have come to realize that many Nigerians prefer to mind their business when they shouldn’t and then not mind their business when they should. 

“So, always reach out to NAPTIP or the police when you see any victim of trafficking or domestic violence. Don’t try to get involved physically or intervene on your own. Be your brother’s keeper by reporting to NAPTIP and the police. NAPTIP has 24 hours call center 07030000203. We also have a short code 627, where you can report suspected human trafficking. So, when you see something, say something.”

Also speaking, the United Nations Regional Coordinator, Matthias Schmale, said the 2022 UN report indicates that 41% of West African victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation and 57% for forced labour, with Nigerians representing the highest number of identified victims of trafficking in West Africa.

He said: “Human trafficking is a heinous activity that shackles freedom, tarnishes human dignity, and violates the UN’s fundamental principles. This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons aims to raise awareness of disturbing developments and trends identified by the latest UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

“The 2022 report informs us that 41% of West African victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation and 57% for forced labour Nigerians represent by far the highest number of identified victims of trafficking in West Africa.

“Furthermore, the report shows a significant decrease in the number of Nigerian victims being identified and rescued in Western countries, while witnessing a significant increase in West Africa, the Gulf, and Asia.

“Thanks to NAPTIP’s efforts, victims are now being identified and rescued with greater efficiency and accuracy than ever before. The theme of this year’s World Day Against Human Trafficking is: “Reach every victim of trafficking-leave no one behind.

“We call on government, law enforcement, public services, and civil society to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end’impunity. A whole-of-society approach is needed to increase resilience against exploitation and the underlying socio-economic and cultural issues that are conducive to trafficking. The fight against human trafficking is unrelenting. Let’s build a future together where this crime cannot exist.”

Blueprint reports that highlight of the event was a march past by different states’ taskforce with different banners against human trafficking.