Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM) is an 11th European Development Fund project which is implemented in Nigeria by the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP). A-TIPSOM is a program designed to reduce trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM) at the national and regional level with specific emphasis on women and children in Nigeria. The project has made significant impact in countering human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in Nigeria.
The project has proven instrumental in providing crucial support to various key entities involved in combating trafficking in persons in Nigeria. The National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and Network of CSOs Against Trafficking (NACTAL) have all benefited from the project’s assistance, resulting in notable improvements in their respective performances.
The period of 2021-2022 witnessed notable impacts in the efforts to combat human trafficking. Several significant achievements were recorded, which include the following:
- Prevention Efforts: a. Community Awareness Campaign (CAC): We carried out awareness campaign on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in six (6) states, namely: Delta, Anambra, FCT, Jigawa, Kwara, and Ogun State. Through the awareness (street/road walk sensitization, school sensitization, stakeholder’s seminars, and sensitization in religious organizations), we directly reached over 11, 000 community members. Population, especially youth and women, are more were sensitized about the risks of the trafficking and smuggling.
b. Media Awareness Campaign (MAC)
To boost awareness on TIPSOM, FIIAPP uses weekly radio programme known as ‘A-TIPSOM VOICE’ on WAZOBIA 99.5 FM Abuja. This takes place every Saturdays between 7.00 pm – 7.30 pm (Nigeria Time) with the main goal of increasing the knowledge of the population about the dangers and risks involved in TIPSOM and support partners in disseminating vital information about TIPSOM as well as indirectly guiding listeners on best approach for responding to human trafficking cases. The radio reaches over 600 000 citizens weekly across FCT, Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger States.
Through the Media coverage of activities on radio and tv stations both online and traditional as well as in the print media, more than 3 million people got to have knowledge on human trafficking and how dangerous it is to humanity.
c. Training Programs: FIIAPP has organized training programs for law enforcement officers and representatives of civil society organizations on preventive measures to TIPSOM. One of these was the training of Social Media handlers of NAPTIP, NIS, NPF and NACTAL on how to effectively use their Social Media platforms to create awareness for members of the public.
FIIAPP has strengthened capacities of the project beneficiaries on applicable laws, policies and legislations guiding the combat of TIPSOM in Nigeria. Under this component, we have provided adequate coordination of all interventions aimed at combatting TIPSOM through meetings, seminars and conferences most especially as it cuts across the various stakeholders and partners in the field of TIPSOM. For example, six (6) interagency/inter-ministerial coordination meetings on TIPSOM were held; two hundred and eighty-two (282) personnel on inter-agency collaboration and coordination or participated in joint inter-agency trainings related to TIPSOM policies/legislations, including the Immigration Act 2015.
3. Protection and Reintegration:
Through the protection component of A-TIPSOM Project, the Protocol for the Identification of Victims was validated and approved by expanded stakeholders. This is a national milestone as it was approved by the Federal Executive Council. Also, the minimum standards and guidelines for service providers providing direct assistance to victims of TIPSOM, was validated and approved.
The capacities of about 40 Staff of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were strengthened on Protection & Assistance of Victims of Trafficking and Smuggled Migrants and gender mainstreaming in their daily activities. Similarly, two hundred shelter personnel from NAPTIP & NACTAL were trained on effective management of shelters and best practices; while thirty (30) personnel from state and non – state actors were trained on Child Protection to enhance their daily schedules.
To improve the livelihood of survivors in the shelter, FIIAPP refurbished and upgraded eleven (11) NAPTIP & NACTAL Shelters with needs-based equipment between. This equipment, according to beneficiaries’ letters of appreciation to the FIIAPP, goes a long way in making the victims very happy and more cooperative as the standards of living in the shelter were improved. The shelters were refurbished and provided with new beds, bedding, mosquito nets, fridge, solar panels, etc.
4. Investigation and Prosecution:
At the core of A-TIPSOM Project is the enhance of capacities of relevant law enforcement agencies to effective, identity victims and perpetrators, investigate and prosecute traffickers/smugglers. Hence, the capacities of NAPTIP, NIS and the NPF have been significantly enhanced by training on the identification of perpetrators of TIP and SOM carried out in different part of Nigeria. Frontline operatives of NIS, NAPTIP and NPF in the border States of project focal states particularly in Borno, Sokoto, Katsina and Lagos States were trained on procedures of identification and implementation of the two protocols of identification of TIP and SOM respectively.
The identification of perpetrators in NAPTIP, NIS and NPF has also being greatly enhanced through the provision of modern technological equipment such as finger print scanners, surveillance cameras, video recorders, voice recorders, XRY forensic software and other intelligence gathering equipment’s donated to the beneficiaries.
Series of specialized trainings on investigation, financial and asset tracing, intelligence gathering and prosecution of TIP and SOM perpetrators were carried out in collaboration with Frontex and Spanish Police. Similarly, a Conference for Judges and prosecutors on human trafficking was conducted to strengthen the adjudication of TIP cases. The project has continue providing Logistic and Coordination Support to LEAs (Laws Enforcement Agencies) on Criminal Investigation against Traffickers particularly to NAPTIP. This has greatly enhanced the number of traffickers arrested, investigated and opened for prosecution.
5. Fostering Partnership and Collaboration:
FIIAPP has organized Region Border Management Workshop/Training for Nigeria Immigration officers and support has been given towards the Regional Border Management Institute, Tuga Kebbi State
Also, following the creation of the West African Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (WACTIPSOM Platform), FIIAPP supported NACTAL and NACTAL on a rescue mission of 15 stranded Nigerian Victims in Mali.
To strengthen regional collaboration between NAPTIP and her counterparts, FIIAPP supported the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and Gambia.
In this reporting year, A-TIPSOM project has made a substantial impact in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in Nigeria and within the West Africa region. Through prevention, protection, and prosecution efforts, we raised awareness, supported survivors, contributed to policy changes, and facilitated collaboration among stakeholders. A-TIPSOM has successfully enhanced the relationship between different law enforcement agencies and civil society organization.