Keffi, Nasarawa State – Nigeria, a country grappling with the challenges of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM), has taken significant steps to strengthen its response to these heinous crimes through the establishment of an Inter-Agency Data Exchange Protocol. These criminal activities, which constitute part of the fastest-growing global criminal enterprises, are fueled by globalization, the pursuit of better opportunities, the demand for cheap labor, and sexual services.
Despite Nigeria’s commendable efforts, challenges persist, particularly in the collection and management of comprehensive data on trafficked and smuggled individuals. A seamless data interface and connectivity among the lead agencies responsible for addressing TIP and SOM have been identified as critical gaps hindering policy formulation, national and international interventions, and support services.
Recognizing the pivotal role of a robust and well-populated databank, Nigerian authorities emphasize that such a resource would drive appropriate interventions, inform better policy formulation, provide insights into prevailing trends, and enable the development of effective strategies to combat TIP and SOM.
The need for seamless data exchange and information-sharing between the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), with potential extension to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), is crucial in addressing TIP and SOM effectively. As a result, there is a call for the development of a concise protocol that promotes data exchange among these agencies and outlines responsibilities and timeframes, with plans to integrate other law enforcement agencies holding TIP and SOM data.
To achieve these goals, a workshop was convened from August 22nd to 24th 2023, in Keffi, Nasarawa State. The workshop aimed to provide the necessary data and ICT infrastructure to enhance the investigation and documentation of TIP and SOM cases. It focused on refining the Inter-Agency Data Exchange Protocol for TIP and SOM, establishing a common approach for data exchange, enhancing data collection systems, fostering collaboration, and improving the capacities of personnel involved in data collection and management.
Participants at the workshop included key agencies dedicated to eradicating TIP and SOM, such as the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Populations Commission (NPC), Federal Ministry of Justice (FMoJ), Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning (MBNP), and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).