The Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Ms. Julie Okah- Donli, has called for more funding from government, private and corporate organisations.
She noted that the scope of its operations has broadened hence the need for adequate funding to achieve its mandate.
According to her, “Trafficking in person has gone beyond sexual exploitation and domestic servitude; it has now extended to organ harvesting. These days, they kill people and sell their organs. They believe it is easier for them to get money that way than to start waiting for a prostitute to bring returns. So, it has taken a frightening and scary dimension.’’
The NAPTIP boss spoke in Lagos when she paid a courtesy visit on the Executive Secretary, Nigeria National Summit Group, Mr. Tony Uranta, urging him to use his influence locally and internationally to rally support for the agency especially with a view to helping it with food, drugs and other basic necessities for their shelter homes.
Okah-Donli identified funding as a major challenge for the agency, adding that the burden should not be left to the government alone.
She noted that NAPTIP has convicted no fewer than 325 persons, and that many cases are still pending in courts, just as investigation on many are still on-going.
The DG stated that over 12,000 victims passed through NAPTIP shelters, adding that “in 2017, we have witnessed the mass deportation of Nigerians from various countries specially Libya. This is further draining our very lean budget. The private sector has not joined in the fight and we call on them to come on board.
“When we talk about human trafficking, many people are looking at external trafficking and they just situate it around ladies going to Italy, but they don’t seem to realise that there is so much internal trafficking going on in Nigeria especially in Lagos State because it is a transit and destination state. When you don’t pay your housemaid or you hit her, its trafficking,” she stated.
In his response, Uranta, who was a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue during the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, commended the leadership of the agency, stating that there is need for NAPTIP to improve its advocacy.
He added that he has been concerned about the issue and threat for over 10 years. Uranta called on government and the National Assembly to increase the budgetary allocation of the agency, stressing that he will mobilise major actors and stakeholders in the nation and the corporate world to commit to the burden of human trafficking.