In response to the escalating challenges of human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and related issues such as organ harvesting, Almajiri, baby factories, and domestic servitude in Sokoto state, Mr. Federico Millan, the team leader, of the Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM) inaugurated the maiden Anti-Human Trafficking Neighbourhood Watch (AHTNW) initiative in Sokoto State. The aim is to address the pressing societal misnomers affecting the people of Sokoto and contribute to broader national development.
The diverse members of the AHTNW include traditional leaders, religious leaders, market leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, and heads of community others, with Alhaji Sani Umar Jabbi, District Head of Gagi and Member of the Sultanate Council, Sokoto State, Nigeria, leading the group.
These individuals are tasked with proactively identifying problems, developing innovative responses, and evaluating the results, particularly in recognizing potential victims of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. By establishing strong relationships within their communities, the AHTNW seeks to empower residents to protect themselves from the clutches of traffickers and smugglers.
The inauguration of the Sokoto Anti-Human Trafficking Neighbourhood Watch took place on November 8, 2023, under the A-TIPSOM Project’s second component, led by the Senior Project Officer/Technical Advisor on Prevention, Mr. Joseph Sanwo. The training session covered an overview of human trafficking, identification and support for victims, and the proper reporting of human trafficking cases.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Federico Milan, the Team Leader of Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM), expressed confidence that with dedication and commitment from all stakeholders, curbing TIP and SOM is achievable. He called on religious and traditional leaders to unite in the campaign against trafficking and smuggling, with CSOs and NGOs playing pivotal roles.
Mr. Abdulganiyu Abubakar, the National President of NACTAL, emphasized the necessity of collective efforts from all stakeholders to combat the menace of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). He underscored the importance of prioritizing states like Sokoto, which serve as trafficking transit routes.
The Sokoto State Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, represented by the Ministry’s Director of Administration, Mr. Abas Ahmed Sani, affirmed the state’s full support for the fight against TIP and SOM. The Comptroller of Immigration, Sokoto State Command, represented by Deputy Comptroller Grace Nkangung, highlighted the challenges posed by irregular migration in Nigeria.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions through the FIIAPP/A-TIPSOM project, Mr. Federico Milan was honored with a chieftaincy title as the “Gatekeeper of Gagi community” by Alhaji Sani Umar Jabbi, the Sarkin Gagi, Gagi community, Sokoto State.
Also, on November 9, 2023, FIIAPP and NACTAL organized a road walk and community sensitization event, involving stakeholders moving around Sokoto Metropolis, markets, and motor-parks to raise awareness about human trafficking and related issues, fostering a united front against these societal challenges.
The launch of Anti-Human Trafficking Neighbourhood Watch (AHTNW) was part of support to the Network of CSOS Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), through the Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies(FIIAPP)