West African region made up of about 15 countries has been a transit, destination and source for human trafficking and migrant smuggling which has been fuelled in recent times by economic challenges faced by countries, insurgency, civil disturbances and war, political instability and high rate of unemployment.
The need to mitigate the increased rate of trafficking in persons and Smuggling of migrant in Nigeria and in the west African region is of great importance to Nigeria and the leadership of Various countries in the region. To address this, there is need for a regional coalition of civil society organizations focusing on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. This collaboration will bring Non – state actors and other actors like national agencies, international organizations, donors to work together as a team.
The Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM), a project funded by European Union, the International Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) is supporting Network of CSOs Against Trafficking in Persons, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) to establish a regional network of non-state actors in the field of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, known as West African Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (WACTIPSOM).
On 21st May 2021, FIIAPP and NACTAL organized a pre-launch briefing to give a progress report to partners, diplomatic missions, ministries and agencies on the ongoing formation of WACTIPSOM.
While giving an opening remark, the Team Leader of A-TIPSOM Project Mr. Rafael Rios Molina said, “WACTIPSOM will foster coordinated intervention against TIPSOM between countries. WACTIPSOM, is a sub-regional Platform for CSOs focusing on human trafficking and smuggling of Migrants and it’s meant to promote collaboration among Civil Society Organizations in ECOWAS countries for effective fight against TIPSOM”.
In his address the president of NACTAL, Mr. Abdulganiyu Abubakar said, “Part of what we want to achieve with this initiative is to encourage other West African countries to have a cross-border platform of organisations working to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants so that we can collaborate and provide protection to our young men, women and children who are being trafficked across the region.
The representative of European Union, Eleni Zerzelidou, reiterated the commitment of the EU to support Nigeria government and civil society organizations in tackling human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
The event was attended by Lorenzo Fages, Ministry of Interior Attache, Embassy of Spain and Mr. Olatunde Olayemi from Ecomonic Community for West African State (ECOWAS).
Also, other organizations, commissions and embassies that were present at the event include: Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), UN Women, Ghana High Commission, Embassy of Gambia, Embassy of Guinea, Embassy of Republic of Benin, Embassy of Mali, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service, Fed Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Expertise France, National Commission For Refugees Migrants And Internally Displaced Persons Offices, Nigeria Emergency Management Agency.