By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli has said the federal government is set to begin rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking with starter packages.
This is even as she restates FG’s commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating victims who are citizens from all parts of the world.
Dame Donli said “Going forward, all returnees are going to be rehabilitated, they are not just going to be brought back from various countries where they are stranded, they will be rehabilitated before being reintegrated back into society, they will be empowered.
She said “those who want to go to school, those who want to learn some trade, some skills be trained and given a starter pack to continue from there
Speaking with Newsmen at an Interactive meeting of NAPTIP and Embassy Police and Immigration Liaison Officers in Nigeria, she said the meeting was necessary because “That is the first port of call in every country, so for example you have victims of human trafficking, the first place to go to for help is the embassy, so it is very important that representatives of all the embassies to know what to do when victims of trafficking run to them for help.
She said the hosting of the event was predicated upon the Agency’s mandate to among others, Strengthen Cooperation and partnership; consistently share information and intelligence with Law Enforcement and Security Agencies, International Authorities, Embassies and Consulates and other relevant partners, in the total annihilation of Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
Noting that Human Trafficking, which is a form of irregular migration, remains a global problem hence, international, bilateral and multilateral cooperation is absolutely necessary to effectively eradicate the scourge, she said the Palermo Protocol, which Nigeria signed and ratified in 2000 was domesticated as Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement Administration Act (2003) as amended in 2005, establishing NAPTIP as Nigeria’s focal Agency in the fight against TIP, especially women and children; a new Act.
She said since inception in July 2003, the Agency has taken bold steps in vigorously pursuing counter trafficking measures centered on the “Five Ps” which are approach of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, partnership and Policy, while also coordinating State and non-state actors response to TIP.
“It is on this premise that the Intelligence and International Cooperation Unit (IICU), was created in 2011 for effective coordination of intelligence gathering and dissemination, fostering International Cooperation with partners and engaging in regular interface with Embassies and Consulates in Nigeria, to stamp out the menace of Trafficking in Persons”.
She reiterated the need to consolidate on the progress and strategic gains recorded through Intelligence and Information Sharing, Technical Cooperation and Assistance, Capacity Building, Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) and Agreements, Exchange Programmes, Joint Investigation of TIP Cases; International Cooperation; Rogatory, Inter-Agency Cooperation.
She emphasized that International Cooperation and Coordination is critical and no one Agency or one Country has the capacity to significantly eradicate the menace of human trafficking alone. ”We all must therefore synergize and reinforce our collective strength, review our weaknesses, take advantage of the opportunities we have and confront the common threats”
A representative of the Finish Border Guard, Jarno Polonen said human trafficking is a little bit different from what happens in other parts of Europe, because Finland is far North of Europe and most human trafficking victims have already stayed for some time in other European countries, so have already been absolutely victimized before coming to Finland.
He noted that they hadn’t had many Nigerians even as he said it is usually difficult to recognize those who are victims and those who are irregular immigrants.
18 Countries were represented at the event including the UK, Cameroun, Togo, Finland, France and Sweden among others.