Trafficking: FG, IOM inaugurate tool to track, identify victims

Trafficking: FG, IOM inaugurate tool to track, identify victims

The Federal Government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Nigeria, have inaugurated a tool to strengthen identification, screening and reporting of victims of trafficking in Nigeria.

A statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by Stylia Kampani, Head of Communication, IOM Nigeria, said that the tool was inaugurated as part of the 2021 World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

According to the statement, the inauguration is a collaboration between the IOM and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

The tool according to the IOM, will ensure a standardised approach to the identification, referral and protection of Victims of Trafficking (VoTs).

“The inauguration coincides with this year’s commemoration of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, (WDATIP) with the theme: ’Victims Voices take the Lead’.

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“The day is established to raise awareness of the plight of victims of trafficking and promote and protect their rights.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation of vulnerable persons who, due to their worsened economic situation, were recruited for labour or sexual exploitation.

“The tools developed are a first step in providing a voice to the victims as it allows them to share their experiences, help service providers facilitate referral pathways and provide comprehensive protections services,” it said.

IOM Chief of Mission, Franz Celestin said that the initiative would strengthen the identification process and ensure that more VoTs were referred to the right services.

“I believe this profiling exercise will strengthen the understanding of Trafficking in Persons in Nigeria and inform the development of national policies and future programming,” he added.

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According to the statement, data collected from screening activities will be disaggregated by sex, age, forms of exploitation, and other relevant indicators.

The aim according to the IOM is to provide first line officials with harmonised tools to effectively identify and refer victims of human trafficking in line with the National Referral Mechanism.

“The process for the development of these tools commenced in November 2020 and received reviews from relevant stakeholders to ensure that the tools are comprehensive and stand the test of time.

“Following the launch, the tools will be piloted in Edo, Lagos, and Delta states where NAPTIP officials will be trained on how to use them.

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“Additionally, screening and reporting tools will be rolled out along the Nigerian border at points of entry and exit,” it said.

NAPTIP Director-General, Sen. Basheer Mohammed, said that victims of human trafficking need to be protected to ensure they live a life of integrity devoid of any form of dehumanisation and degrading treatment.

Data from the IOM show that since 2017, the UN agency had provided support to 21,771 returnees out of which 2,302 were Victims of Trafficking.

The IOM further said that the long term goal of the tool was to ensure that the date obtained was integrated into an information management system (IMS). (NAN)

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