By Ahmed D. Garba
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has convicted 629 human traffickers and rescued over 22,000 victims in the past 20 years, solicits for additional resources to sustain its operations.
The announcement was made during a discussion on Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Palladium, said the agency spends approximately N1.5 million every month to provide for victims sheltered in various camps.
The call for more funding was echoed by the Programme Director of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Timothy Ejeh, who highlighted the urgent need for increased support from stakeholders.
Said he: “NAPTIP is underfunded. As we speak, the agency spends about 1.5 million every month to feed survivors of human trafficking. With the fuel subsidy removed, the burden is even more significant.
“There is a need for the private sector to see how they can support the Victims of Trafficking Trust Fund (VOTTF).”
The VOTTF, as per the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act 2015, is meant to support victims of human trafficking and violence.
Funds can be raised through confiscating and selling assets of convicted traffickers, as well as through donations from private sectors, religious bodies, and individuals.
Also speaking on the matter, Fatima Magaji Ahmed, the Programme Director of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FORWAN), emphasized the importance of private sector involvement.
She said, “The sensitization to get funding from the private sector for NAPTIP will go a long way.
“It allows interested persons to donate money towards the cause.”
The announcement came amid an online interactive program, “Conversation with NAPTIP”, held to mark the agency’s 20th anniversary and the 2023 World Day Against Human Trafficking.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi, issued a warning against irregular migration while reaffirming the agency’s commitment to outmaneuver criminals through enhanced partnerships.
“In the past 20 years, the crime of human trafficking has evolved in terms of trends and patterns, but one thing I can say for sure is that Nigeria is better poised to tackle the issues of human trafficking,” Waziri-Azi said.
She further advised Nigerians considering migration to do so legally and responsibly.