The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has lamented that 1.6 million Nigerians out of the total number of 50 million people worldwide are living in modern slavery.

Addressing a press conference on the activities lined up to celebrate the 20 years of the establishment of NAPTIP and this year’s World Day Against Human Trafficking, the Director General of the agency, Prof. Fatima Waziri Azi, said the 2023 global slavery index estimates have shown that 50 million individuals are living in modern slavery, with at least 1.6 million Nigerians affected.

She said: “For anyone that has followed the NAPTIP story since inception has visibly seen the agency progressed from its very first command in Benin, Edo State to offices in 32 states, the last seven offices acquired in the past year and a half.

“In 20 years, we have seen the crime of human trafficking spread like wildfire in terms of the enormity, trends and patterns. It has not been an easy fight to dismantle these networks, but we remain undaunted.

“Only recently did the 2023 Global Slavery Index opine that globally, it is estimated that 50 million people were living in modern slavery on any day in 3021, an increase of 10 million people since 2016. What this narrative indicates is the urgent need for a more strategic and deliberate global response to these problems.”

She however said: “Nigeria is better poised to control and tackle human trafficking due to the collaborative efforts of everyone. The public is better informed about issues of human trafficking, and this is due to the amplified visibility of NAPTIP.

“Nigerians have become their brother’s keeper, looking out for one another and this has increased reportage of issues of human trafficking and violence against persons (domestic and sexual violence).

Also speaking at the briefing, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, who was represented by the Director Humanitarian Affairs, Grema Ali, highlighted some of the notable achievements of the agency to include awareness campaigns and sensitization strategically designed to educate people about human trafficking, associating violence, and what drives it, especially at the sub-national levels through- community-centred awareness creation in partnership with traditional, religious and community leaders; survivor’s advocacy campaigns; school campaigns, as well as digital and traditional media campaigns.

Also part of the achievements, according to him, included the establishment of secondary school vanguards, rolling out the trafficking in persons curricula in schools nationwide, inclusion of trafficking in persons issues into the Minimum Standards of Colleges of Education in collaboration with the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), the establishment of a 24/7 call centre and launch of the ‘627’ short code, are all mechanisms that the agency has put in place to stem the tide of this heinous crime.

The permanent secretary also said other milestones of the agency included 14,813 cases reported; 10,005 suspected traffickers arrested; 623 convictions (80 convictions in 2022 and 47 in 2023 for now, including the recent extradition of a high-profile human trafficker to Italy to serve her 13 years jail term); 260 ongoing cases in various courts across the country; and the rescue of close to 22,000 victims of human trafficking.

He said: “Knowing that issues of human trafficking happen mostly at the sub-national level, NAPTIP has inaugurated the Task Force against Human Trafficking in 22 states. These task forces have over the years amplified the fight against human trafficking and enhanced collaboration with NAPTIP at the state level.

“Other recent and exciting collaborations NAPTIP has forged is the strategic partnership with Meta (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and with the United States National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). These partnerships have further enhanced the capacity of NAPTIP to tackle issues of online child exploitation, child sexual assault materials and sextortion including the launch of the amber alert on Facebook and Instagram in September 2022, placing Nigeria as the second country in Africa and the 29th in the world with an amber alert on Facebook and Instagram.”


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