Human trafficking: UN pledges support for Nigerian aviation agencies

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has pledged to support key stakeholders in Nigeria’s aviation industry to curb human trafficking.

The United Nations said this in a release  signed by Sylvester Atere, Outreach and Communications Officer of the organisation’s office in Nigeria.

Between 2003 and 2016, the UNODC 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons estimates that 20 per cent of the 225,000 (or 1 in 5) victims of human trafficking detected worldwide were trafficked via airplanes.

The UN, in its statement, said it believes airlines, their crew, as well as passengers “have a huge role to play in detecting victims and their traffickers before departure and while on board of aircraft before victims are sneaked out of trace in destination countries”.

Hence, it said it is extending its support to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in the bid to engage airlines, airport management authorities, travel agencies as well as travellers “to help detect and prevent the trafficking of persons.”

Key aviation agencies it is aiming to support include the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) and Air Peace airline.

The statement reads in part: “Following a series of consultations with these partners and with the support of the US government, UNODC together with NAPTIP have developed a series of specific airports and on board sensitization materials on trafficking in persons.

“Aimed at travel agents, airport personnel, flight crews, and passengers, the materials seek to provide basic information on how to identify victims of trafficking and how to report such suspicion safely. Initially these materials will be deployed in Abuja and Lagos international airports halls, including on electronic boards, on boarding passes, tickets, in-flight magazines and through public announcements on board.

“Such materials are part of a general sensitization campaign conducted under the project also targeting traditional rulers, youths in school, civil society organisations, entertainment industry, border communities, law enforcement agencies, state governments and road transport sector.

“In parallel and recognising that awareness raising materials may not be enough to sensitize the air travel industry, NAPTIP and UNODC conducted a training for managers in the air transport sector on specific operational measures that can be taken to facilitate the detection of victims and their traffickers on 7 to 10 October 2019 in Lagos.”

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