The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons in Nigeria, NAPTIP has concluded a collaboration with the United States National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to enhance tracing and diligent investigation of all cases relating to child abuse and human trafficking.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri–Azi, disclosed this in Abuja while speaking on the 2022 counter-trafficking strategic approach of the Agency aimed at ensuring the protection of Nigerians from human trafficking and other forms of exploitation, online and offline.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Agency’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Stella Nezan in Abuja.
According to the Director-General, investigations revealed that apart from millions of vulnerable and unaccompanied children that are being trafficked across the West Africa corridors and migration routes, many victims are held and blackmailed by traffickers in various destinations with the use of technology to shield their identities and also ensure firm and effective control measure on their victims.
The NAPTIP boss noted that the partnership would enable the Agency to have unrestricted access to millions of information around the world that would help tackle online recruitment, trafficking and exploitation of victims.
On the benefits of the new operational partnership, Dr Waziri–Azi, said the latest development is a product of the renewed determination by the Agency to investigate and prosecute those operating remotely with the aid of technology.
“It is a known fact that human trafficking has continued to evolve in line with globalization, especially with technology, traffickers have kept pace with technology by using the World Wide Web for their operations.”
“This modus of Operandi is prominent with the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is a shift from physical recruitment to virtual recruitment through virtual assessment of victim and proxy negotiation”
“This database shall enable NAPTIP to have access to vital information of perpetrators who use social media platforms to electronically distribute pornographic materials to either blackmail or exploit children. The system will also help trace missing children, rescue child victims and rescue children from abusive situation”, Dr Fatima Waziri–Azi stated.
Dr Waziri-Azi, therefore, called on all stakeholders to co-operate with the Agency by sharing information on missing children and other suspected activities of traffickers within their environment, while assuring them that such information shall be treated with strict confidentiality and prompt attention.
The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children is the custodian of the Cybertipline, a centralized reporting online mechanism for crimes related to the sexual exploitation of children.
Based in the United States of America, Cybertipline serves as the National Resource Centre and clearing house on missing and sexually exploited children.
It works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the US Secret Service, the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations, the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforces, the US Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity and other state and local Law Enforcement Agencies across the World.
Under this new partnership, NAPTIP would have access to real-time information on child sex trafficking, sex tourism involving children, child sexual molestation by non-family members and online enticement of children for sexual acts, among others.
It would be recalled that Dr Fatima Waziri–Azi, has consistently maintained that the arrest and prosecution of high profile human traffickers operating both within and outside Nigeria remain one of her strategic priorities as this would serve as a deterrent to others as well as reduce the level of impunity and ensure satisfactory justice delivery to victims of human trafficking.
Source: Voice of Nigeria