The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funding from the Government of Switzerland kicked off the third technical workshop related to the development of the new National Action Plan against human trafficking in Nigeria.
NAPTIP gathered over thirty stakeholders from ministries, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations and international partners for a 3-day workshop in Keffi, Nasarawa State to work on a final draft of the action plan.
According to the UNODC Fifth Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, out of 4,799 victims detected in 26 Sub-Saharan Africa countries between 2016 and 2019, 3,336 were in West Africa including 2553 children.
Close to 80% of victims in West Africa were trafficked for forced labour, which remains the major form of exploitation in the region.
In Nigeria, NAPTIP data confirms that trafficking in persons did not decrease during the COVID-19 pandemic as the total number of detected victims in 2020 (1,087) remained stable compared to 2019 (1,152) and 2018 (1,173).
A statement by Ms. Olivia Ogechi Okorondu, Communications Associate, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, disclosed that
COVID-19 appears to have impacted the forms of trafficking. For example, while cases of sexual exploitation abroad dropped significantly in 2020, the number of victims of sexual exploitation within Nigeria doubled between 2019 and 2020. Moreover, the difficulties to access basic social services, psycho-social support and other necessary assistance increased victims’ vulnerabilities and expanded the scope of potential victims.
She further noted that this is the third and final technical workshop dedicated to the development of the new policy document, adding that following the first two workshops held in Abuja in November 2020 and January 2021, NAPTIP and UNODC recently conducted a wide consultation process in Abuja but also in Lagos, Kano, Edo, Benue and Delta States to ensure involvement and ownership of all relevant partners at Federal and State levels.
“Close to 200 stakeholders from ministries, law enforcement agencies, state governments, civil society, international organizations, foreign embassies and the private sector took part in the process. With UNODC technical assistance, NAPTIP prepared a draft action plan which reflects takeaways from all these consultations”, she said.
She revealed that over the next three days, stakeholders gathered in Keffi will provide final feedback and expertise to the document before its validation at a subsequent workshop and its official launch.
“It is good to be ambitious but one also needs to be realistic: a solid monitoring and evaluation framework will be crucial for the successful implementation of the action plan” said Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, Director-General of NAPTIP.
“The development of the new action plan is based on an inclusive, multi-partner approach with ministries, agencies, civil society organizations, international partners and the private sector” said Dr. Oliver Stolpe, UNODC Representative to Nigeria. “It is very much a document developed by and for Nigerian stakeholders.”
“Switzerland is very proud to support this endeavor. I congratulate NAPTIP, UNODC and everyone involved on the great progress made so far. We all have an important role to play in the fight against human trafficking” said Mr. Manuel Mühlebach, Migration Advisor at the Embassy of Switzerland to Nigeria.