The Federal Government says it is addressing trafficking in persons from the roots through its social investment programmes to reduce poverty. ⁣

It also named porous borders, poverty, lack of education and unemployment as factors compounding the difficulty in combatting human trafficking. ⁣

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, said this when he declared the 26th National Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Human Trafficking opened in Abuja on Monday.⁣

“The porous nature of our borders and the sophisticated networks of these criminals further compounds the challenge of combating the menace. ⁣

“Nigeria has demonstrated its commitment not only in the high number of convictions but also with successful rescue and rehabilitation of thousands of victims alongside strategic preventive measures. ⁣

“President Bola Tinubu-led administration recognises that addressing poverty and underdevelopment is critical in preventing human trafficking. Investing in people, especially young people and the disadvantaged, reduces the desperation that drives individuals into exploitation abroad,” said Fagbemi.⁣

The AGF affirmed the government’s commitment to scale its social investment programmes to provide livelihood support in deterring potential victims from falling prey to traffickers. ⁣

However, he emphasised that one agency or arm of government cannot shoulder the fight against human trafficking. ⁣
Instead, it demands a collective effort involving civil society, the private sector, international organisations, communities and the people.⁣

Therefore, “I solicit continued support from all stakeholders. Together, with a common vision, to come win this fight against human trafficking,” he charged listeners.” ⁣

On her part, the Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, said there is more work to be done through deepened partnership.⁣

She said, “Now, today offers us the collective opportunity to deepen partnership; ensure that interventions and activities align with the National Action Plan on Human trafficking; receive and deliberate on reports from all stakeholders across the various sectors at the national and sub-national levels; present the 2024/2025 national outlook for counter-trafficking initiatives in Nigeria including the presidential priorities; and share the concept of the logical framework for the Implementation of the National Action Plan for effective reporting of counter-trafficking activities in Nigeria.”⁣

Enumerating NAPTIP’s achievements in the past year—including the extradition of a high-profile human trafficker to Italy to serve her 13-year jail term—the. DG declared, “Despite our progress, human trafficking remains an ongoing threat and we hope to continue working with all our partners and stakeholders to design creative solutions for ways to understand better and tackle human trafficking.”⁣

She thanked the Swiss and Dutch governments through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their unwavering support, acknowledging NAPTIP’s partners such as the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Expertise France, the International Organisation for Migration, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. ⁣

In his goodwill message, the Deputy Representative of the UNODC, Danilo Campisi, urged participants to use the forum to reaffirm their collective resolve to leave no stone unturned in the fight against human trafficking. ⁣

“Let us seize this opportunity to redouble our efforts, strengthen our partnerships, and mobilize resources to protect the most vulnerable among us and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” Campisi appealed.⁣

The forum also received goodwill messages from the Swiss and Dutch Ambassadors and other selected development partners and stakeholders.⁣

Also in attendance were the Commissioners of Justice and Women Affairs from the 36 states of the Federation.