NAPTIP, UNODC empower human trafficking victims

NAPTIP, UNODC empower human trafficking victims

Representative of UNODC officer-in-charge Mr. Polleak Okserei (standing) reading his address at the event. Sitting (L-R) are: the Commander, NAPTIP Lagos Command, Mr. Joseph Famakin, NAPTIP Director of Research, Mr. Godwin Morka, Migration Adviser, Embassy of Switzerland in Nigeria, Ms Jolanda Pfister Herren and the Representative of D.G. NAPTIP, Dr. Eunice Anuforom.

Thirty victims of human trafficking today received equipment for various vocational skills ranging from catering, hairdressing, photography to tailoring and bead making  to set them up in business.

The recipients, all young girls, were also handed a power generator each as part of the empowerment programme of the the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), supported by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime  (UNODC) and funded by the government of Switzerland.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at the NAPTIP zonal  office in Lagos earlier today, the UNODC Officer in-Charge, represented by Mr. Polleak Okserei  disclosed that the recipients had also benefited from a specialised training in business management  to equip them with a basic knowledge necessary for successful business “to ensure economic self-reliance within the family, community and the society at large.”

He urged the beneficiaries to take proper care of the equipment and maximise its use.

The empowerment equipment, donated by the government of Switzerland, on display at the NAPTIP Lagos Command office, shortly before presentation.

“We equally hope that NAPTIP will be in a position to monitor progress made, thanks to these equipment and newly acquired skills,” he further said.

In her remarks the Migration Adviser, Embassy of Switzerland in Nigeria, Jolanda Pfister Herren commended the efforts of UNODC and NAPTIP in training the girls and the execution of the “Support and Capacity Building to NAPTIP on Strengthening  access to Justice and Victim Support,” under which the  empowerment programme is being implemented.

She disclosed that Nigeria was the first African country with which Switzerland established a migration partnership.  According to her, both countries have, since 2011, enjoyed an excellent and close collaboration on migration issues.

“Numerous projects and activities have been implemented so far in various fields, including  the fight against human trafficking and migrants smuggling, capacity building in immigration administration and protection of vulnerable migrants.”

Herren further disclosed that Switzerland and Nigeria are also cooperating in the fields of preventing irregular migration. To this end, she said, the Swiss government had, in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM),  the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)  and a TV production outfit, developed a television mini-series currently running on NTA as part of measures to raise awareness on the risks of following irregular migration routes.

“The purpose of Swiss-Nigeria migration partnership is to work together more closely and in a comprehensive manner in the area of migration with then purpose to tackle the challenges of global migration.  The objective is to develop common solutions to the challenges faced by both countries, and to better utilize the potentials offered by migration,” she further said.

The recipients at the presentation ceremony

Turning to the beneficiaries, she said: “we do recognize your invaluable service to the society in very many aspects. It is for that reason that we have reached the critical aspect of this project – empowering you with the already acquired training as well as equipment to sustain and enhance your economic and leadership skills.”

Herren thanked UNODC and NAPTIP for their contributions in addressing the prevailing and suspected issues in human trafficking saying: “It is only with a common effort and close cooperation between stakeholders that we will be able to overcome he sickening challenge of human trafficking.”

In her remark, Dr. Eunice Anuforo who represented the Director General of NAPTIP, told the recipients that NAPTIP would monitor them closely to ensure that they are doing well in their chosen business.

Urging them to put the equipment to good use and better their lives, Dr. Anuforo warned them against selling the equipment as some beneficiaries had done in the past.

“We have equipped people in the past who either sold or mismanaged the equipment so, we are going to monitor you to make sure you are established. Let’s not hear that you are lured back into illegal migration. As you collect your equipment today, make sure you treasure them and make full us of them,” she urged.

Dignitaries at the event advocate for an end to human trafficking

The Commander,  NAPTIPP Lagos zone Mr. Joseph Famakin told Nigeria Health Online that the beneficiaries, who were victims of human trafficking, had gone through the NAPTIP’s process designed to help integrate them into the society. This, he said,  included counselling and helping them to make informed choice on the kind of vocation to pursue.

He said the girls were also introduced to formal and informal education and those who wanted to go back to school were sent to school while those that wanted to embark on vocational training either as hair dressers,  caterers, tailors, photographers, among others, were sent to NAPTIP’s partners for relevant training after which they were sent back to the agency for empowerment.

“What you are witnessing today is a group of victims that has passed through NAPTIP counselling, gone through our partners for training and returned for empowerment. Unfortunately, as at the time most of them finished, the empowerment kits were not ready so we had to contact UNODC, our most dependable partner to assist us. UNODC liaised with the Swiss government and they took up the responsibility so, what you are seeing today are things sponsored and paid for by the Swiss government acting in collaboration with UNODC.

“We also have the opportunity of showcasing one of our (human trafficking) victims who opted out of vocational training  and said she wanted to go back to school. She was encouraged to go back to secondary school and she started from Senior Secondary 1 and finished.

“When she came out, she enrolled with JAMB and got admission into the Redeemers University where she graduated with a Second Class Upper in accounting. She’s proceeding for NYSC next week.”

Mr. Famakin told NHO that the presentation of the empowerment  kits was only the beginning of full reintegration of the girls into the society. According to him, NAPTIP is poised to follow them up to ensure that the objective of the programme is successfully achieved.

“We are still going further to look for how to get shops for them. They must be monitored for a period of not less than two years to forestall sale of the equipment. That is what we do,” he said.




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