The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has commenced the process to develop a new national action plan against human trafficking in Nigeria.
In a statement by UNODC Communication Associate, Olivia Okorondu, NAPTIP gathered over 30 stakeholders including ministries, law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations and international partners for a three-day workshop in Abuja to set the priorities of the new national action plan.
The statement further explained that the development of the strategic document was long overdue as the previous national plan expired in 2012.
The statement remarked that the initiative was supported through the ‘strengthening the policy framework and response to human trafficking in Nigeria’ project, funded by the Swiss government and implemented jointly by NAPTIP and UNODC.
The workshop would provide a unique opportunity for partners to reflect on the previous plan’s successes as well as lessons learned in its implementation and identify key priorities for the upcoming years in the fight against human trafficking in the country.
It maintained that as a preliminary step, the project conducted between April and July 2020 a baseline assessment of the current situation of trafficking in persons in Nigeria. It disclosed that the report assessed the current responses to trafficking in the various fields such as prevention, protection, criminal justice response and international cooperation.
“With the technical assistance of UNODC, NAPTIP will organise further consultations and technical meetings through the course of 2021 to ensure the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, agree on their various roles and responsibilities but also to identify the resources required in support of the implementation of the plan, once adopted, and establish a strong monitoring and evaluation framework,” it added.
In her opening remarks, the Direction General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, stated: “The approved document will become the blueprint for all interventions against human trafficking in Nigeria, ensuring efficiency and greater synergy. It is therefore, my desire that all relevant stakeholders are involved in the process of developing this Plan of Action, so that it benefits from contemporary trends and good practices from around the world.”
In addition, the Country Representative to Nigeria, United NATIONS Office on Drugs and Crime, Dr. Oliver Stolpe stated: “Despite progresses, further efforts are however needed to enhance the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons which remains a “high profit – low risk crime. The development of a new National Action Plan provides us all with an opportunity to identify and address the current challenges in effectively preventing and combatting human trafficking in Nigeria, while ensuring the rights and protection of victims.”
On his part, Migration Adviser at the Embassy of Switzerland in Abuja, Mr. Manuel Muehlebach, said: “The fight against human trafficking constitutes an important area of cooperation between Nigeria and Switzerland. The development of the National Action Plan will serve as a strategic document that will guide stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria.”