NAPTIP rescues 14,000 victims in 16 years

The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, Tuesday said the agency has since inception in 2003, secured 403 convictions, with over 14,000 victims rescued, rehabilitated and reintegrated back into their various communities.

Ms Okah-Donli said this at a lecture organised by NAPTIP to commemorate the 2019 World Day against Human Trafficking.

“The agency has further strengthened the existing collaborations with various partners, as well as formed new alliances on all fronts to boost the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria and beyond.

“Recently, NAPTIP successfully inaugurated state task forces to fight against human trafficking in Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states, in addition to the existing taskforce in Edo state.

“We hope to replicate this in all 36 states of the federation because it aims at getting the state and local governments to take proactive steps towards the combat of human trafficking in their domains,” she said.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Human Trafficking: Call Your Government to Action”.

She said this should serve as an instruction “as it reminds all stakeholders that human trafficking is a horrible menace that is a threat to human and national security.”

This, she said, is because it endangers public health, fuels violence and organised crimes and “is the highest level of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.”

The official commended international organisations and countries such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), for their support in the agency’s aspiration to remain a global model.

She also commended the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Social Protection Plan, Mariam Uwais, for agreeing to launch the Sex Offenders Register.

She said this was aimed at making information about convicted sexual offenders available to people who need to know.

Section 1(4) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 provides that, “A register for convicted sexual offenders shall be maintained and accessible to the public.”

She said, “In recognition of the efforts of the agency, …, Nigeria was recently upgraded from Tier 2 watch list to Tier 2 in the United States 2019 rating of the counter-trafficking efforts of countries around the world.

“Despite these achievements, NAPTIP is not relenting on its efforts at ensuring that the fight against human trafficking is won. It is a challenge we all have to address collectively, and all hands must be on deck to end the menace,” she said.

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