The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has described human trafficking as a transnational organised crime of extraordinary magnitude, which has continued to plague the nation with its attendant negative narratives.

He said that there must be a deliberate collaboration among state and non-state actors, including development partners to stamp out human trafficking in the country.

He stated this while delivering a speech at the 25th National Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Human Trafficking and Presentation of National Action Plan on Human Trafficking and other Policy documents held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

Represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Ade Ipaye, Professor Osinbajo said, “As we all know by now, human trafficking is a challenge of extraordinary magnitude. Empirical evidence shows that it is a multi-billion dollars enterprise with criminals exploiting their victims over and over. For years, issues of human trafficking have plagued our country, smearing Nigeria as an origin, transit, and destination country. Trafficking in persons and irregular migration is, without doubt, a National and International concern, especially with many Nigerians trapped in sexual and labor exploitation in various African and European countries, all striving for greener pasture. Most disturbing is that a 2021 Interpol report titled ‘Trafficking of Human Beings for the Purpose of Organ Removal in North and West Africa,’ has flagged Nigeria as a country of origin, transit, and destination, for trafficking in persons for organ removal. This is driven, largely, by the global shortage of organs for ethical transplants. While organ trafficking exists in all regions of the world, it is of particular concern in North and West Africa, where impoverished communities and displaced populations are at greater risk of exploitation.”

He further stated: “President Muhammadu Buhari-led government recognises the fact that to prevent human trafficking we need to address poverty, underdevelopment, and a lack of equal opportunity, which means investing in people, especially the young and disadvantaged. It is for this reason that, since 2015, this administration has consistently developed policies, programmes, and initiatives targeted at addressing poverty, providing equal opportunities for women, supporting entrepreneurs, and micro, small and medium businesses, creating jobs for young people and challenging those fundamental inequalities that leave women and children vulnerable to human trafficking. Consistent with this administration’s resolve to lift at least 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade, we remain committed to scaling social investments programmes that would provide livelihood support to our teeming young men and women as a deliberate strategy to prevent them from falling easily to the antics of traffickers who are constantly on the watch for victims they can exploit.”

The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri – Azi, reiterated the determination of her administration to continue to tackle human trafficking in Nigeria through the strict implementation of her strategic thrusts and ensure that traffickers were effectively prosecuted.

Waziri – Azi disclosed that as part of the efforts to address the scourge of human trafficking, the Agency has taken further steps in its partnership base with the collaboration with Facebook in order to expose, sensitize and swiftly tackle any emerging incidence of human trafficking online in real-time.

She stated: “Now, due to the increase in state and interstate trafficking, buying and selling of children and cryptic pregnancies, NAPTIP has concluded a partnership with Facebook and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in the United States, to set up Amber Alert Nigeria whereby Facebook sends alerts to the targeted Facebook community to help find missing children in Nigeria on time. This initiative which is the second in Africa by Facebook will deliver AMBER Alerts to people’s News Feeds in targeted search areas after a child has been abducted and NAPTIP has issued an alert on such an abduction. These alerts, which include photographs and other details about the missing child,  will be sent to people who use Facebook within an approximately 160km radius of the search area where the child was last seen. Furthermore, people will be able to share the alert with friends and link directly to the NAPTIP Child poster, which always has the most up-to-date information about the case. AMBER ALERT Nigeria will be formally launched in June here in Abuja.”

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