The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has given all organisations, Shelters and Homes, offering services for the purpose of rehabilitation of trafficked persons in Nigeria one-month ultimatum to obtain clearance certificates to operate in the country or risk shut down and prosecution in accordance with the Agency’s extant law.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi at a meeting with a segment of the Agency’s stakeholders said the ultimatum will take effect from tomorrow, Wednesday the 29th of June this year.
According to Dr. Waziri-Azi, the ultimatum is based on the powers given to the Agency under the Trafficking in Persons (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations 2019 and the resolve of the Agency to give more effect to it after the grace period earlier given to the organisations to comply has expired.
Regulation 2019 was issued by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN on 9th October, 2019.
She said that the legislation was necessitated by the disturbing cases of trafficking in persons by Nigerians, under the guise of educational, cultural and musical excursions, labour migration and sporting related travels to foreign countries, especially the Middle East, Eastern, and Central Europe.
The Director-General also stated that the agency was closing in on some travel agents and tour operators involved in the recruitment of Nigerians for labour outside Nigeria, educational excursions, cultural, music excursions and competitions with children outside the country without obtaining the requisite clearance certificates from NAPTIP.
Explaining the rationale for the ultimatum, Dr Waziri-Azi said ‘’unscrupulous persons hide under the façade of being a travel agent, tour operator or recruiter of labour to deceive, defraud, and lure naïve victims to foreign countries for the purpose of exploitation which takes the form of sexual exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage, slavery and removal of organs.
In a statement issued by the agency’s public-relations officer, Stella Nezan, the regulation which is fully operational, gives NAPTIP the powers to regulate, control and scrutinise all travels as categorized by the Regulation and ensure that the intent and purpose of embarking on such travels are genuine, and it is projected that this regulatory function will reduce incidents of human trafficking”
She noted that the Trafficking in person (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations, 2019, is in place to ensure that labour recruitment, travel agents, tour operations and operators of shelters and homes offering services for the rehabilitation of trafficked persons conduct their businesses within the ambit of the law and by extension stem the dreadful trend of human trafficking.