Human trafficking: NAPTIP adopts global best practices

Omolayo Alabi, Abuja

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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says the agency has adopted world best practices in handling victims of human trafficking.

The Director General of the agency, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, said this at a news conference in Abuja.

According to her, the disclosure is necessary to clear the air of a recent report made by the ‘Human Rights Watch’ which indicted the agency.

The global human rights watchdog had on the early hours of Aug. 27, indicted the agency on the handling of human trafficking victims at media event.

The Human Rights Watch report reads: “You pray for death’’; “Trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria”; “Nigeria: Continuing survivors, end detention in shelters, provide more support.”

Okah-Donli said that the entire report of the Human Rights Watch was a mere figment of the imagination of the writers as the narratives fall below the standard of operation of shelters and victims supports provided by the agency.

It is important to note that the agency observes all the world best practices in victims handling as enshrined by the Palermo protocol which includes that no victim shall be kept in a shelter against his or her will.

“The activities in our shelters are further guided by the National Policy on Protection and Assistance to Trafficked Persons in Nigeria, a national document that has also been adopted by ECOWAS in dealing with victims of human trafficking.

“The NAPTIP shelters are no doubt closed shelters where victims are given protection and assistance for a short while before moving them to open shelters so they can move about for their rehabilitation programmes which include going to school or learning a trade based on their preferences.

“The shelter is a not detention camp, neither does it look like one and can be accessed and assessed,’’ she said.

According to the Director-General, it is equally wrong of the human rights watch to say that victims were not given access to their family members through personal contacts or through telephone conversations.

She added that whenever the victims wanted to speak to their families or see them within the short period of their stay, they are allowed to do that but must be monitored considering the security situation of the country.

She said that the Federal Government is spending so much money in keeping the victims safe and also provide adequate for their welfare in the agency shelters.

Okah-Donli stated that the agency is also going extra miles by providing education and job opportunities to many of the victims.

“Just recently, four of such victims who have graduated from tertiary institutions under the sponsorship of the agency have been employed as officers of the agency,’’ she added.

Omolayo.A