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Human trafficking generates billions in profit at the expense of victims- A-TIPSOM

Logo Action Against trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria
Human trafficking exists in Nigeria and around the world today, and it affects all categories of human beings particularly women and children. Human trafficking leaves no country untouched, and generates billions in profit at the expense of thousands of victims each year. Nigerians are trafficked right here and outside the borders to Europe and other continents.  Every year, thousands of vulnerable Nigerians – the majority of whom are women and children– are deceived, forced and sold into situations of exploitation.

According United Nations, human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons (ACT); by threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim (MEANS); for the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs (PURPOSE).

 Who is a Victim?

Victims of human trafficking are individuals subjected to one or more forms of exploitation, as contained in the above definition of human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking can be children, teenagers or adults.  Victims could be living in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

A victim could be someone trapped in forced labour in a factory or farm with bruises on his/her body. A victim could be an abused a child who will not say where he/she is coming from or going, and who is accompanied by a controlling companion who insists on speaking for him/her.  Victim can be that fearful child, teenager or woman who quietly slips in and out of a religious gathering unaccompanied or accompanied by someone. The victims could be someone who lives in the neighborhood or in your community, yet doesn’t have freedom of movement, and possibly filled with anxiety or fear. It could be someone whose travel documents has been seized;  someone in debt bondage; someone who was deceived; someone sold in exchange for money; orphans or street children.

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Victims can be found in every state in Nigeria and can be seen in factories, farms, streets, schools, clubs, offices, homes, hospitals, religious gatherings, hotels, orphanage homes, and brothels; at airports, seaports, motor parks and on buses, cars or trains. They may be closer to you than you imagine; and you may have seen them without identifying that they are victims.

Victims Have Different Painful Experiences

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in her Fact Sheet  stated that the consequences of human trafficking on victims include: long lasting psychological effect, human rights violation, degradation, personal health risks, and could result to death of victims.

Also, the U.S. Department of State noted, “because traffickers dehumanize and objectify their victims, victims’ innate sense of power, visibility, and dignity often become obscured.”

Because of awful experiences, some victims are induced or resort to using destructive substances like drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms to deal with stressful and traumatic daily life and to numb the pain of their experiences.

When identified and rescued, victims may harbour deep feelings of mistrust towards official bodies because of experiences in the hands of their exploiters. Frequently, victims fear violent retaliation by traffickers against themselves and family members in their countries or states of origin.

The Need for Protection and Assistance

From the above experiences of victims of human trafficking, there is need to restore the trafficked persons to the state of physical, psychological, social, vocational and economic wellbeing through sustainable assistance and protection programmes.  It is worthy of note that different victims have different needs, and their needs are to be served without discrimination to age, sex, origin, color, or ability.

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The UNTOC Trafficking Protocol requires States Parties to provide victims with    ‘(a) Appropriate housing; (b) Counseling and information, in particular as regards their legal rights, in a language that the victims of trafficking in persons can understand; (c) Medical, psychological and material assistance; and (d) Employment, educational and training opportunities’

When protecting and assisting rescued trafficked persons, service providers need to include a wide range of different specialized services, addressing the specific needs of each individual. Also, the human rights of trafficked persons should be at the centre of all efforts.

Below are some categories of services that need to be provided to trafficked persons:

Emergency Services

  • Crisis Intervention and Counseling
  • Emergency Shelter and Referrals
  • Urgent Medical Care
  • Safety Planning
  • Food and Clothing

Social Services

  • Case Management
  • Interpretation
  • Housing

Economic Empowerment Services

  • Job Training/Skill acquisition programme
  • Education (Primary, Secondary and/or Tertiary Education)
  • Employment Assistance (support with securing employment or becoming self-employed)
  • Empowerment of Victim’s family
  • Transportation

Health Care Services:

  • Treatment of injuries, diseases, etc.
  • Medical check-up

Legal Services

  • Legal Representation
  • Witness Protection
  • Immigration Status
  • Criminal Case Services
  • Civil Case Services
  • Family Court Services
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About A-TIPSOM

The Action Against trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM) began in 2018, through an agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Nigeria, with the objective to reduce the trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, at national, regional and international level, and between Nigeria and the European Union, with specific emphasis in women and children, working with main Nigerian agencies, such as NAPTIP, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Police Force and the representative of the civil society, NACTAL. A-TIPSOM project is tackling human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in Nigeria through the 5Ps which include Prevention, Protection, Policy, Partnership and Prosecution.

Article by:

Joseph Chidiebere Osuigwe,

Communication and Awareness Raising Officer(Consultant),

A-TIPSOM

 

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Free movement of people a top priority, say West African nations

Aligned migration policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons, says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Photo: Fredrick Ejiga/IOM

Abuja – Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union.

Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

Integrated migration governance should be a key goal and Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior for Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments, said it was essential African nations addressed trafficking in persons and its devastating consequences on migrants.

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“Vile stories on international media concerning migrant slavery, as well as mistreatment of young African domestic helps in some Gulf States, call for a reflection on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this persistent problem that leads to the loss of young Africans, without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Dery said. “In Ghana, the contribution of migrants has played a great role in shaping our national development.”

Governments must address the root causes of trafficking and ensure the free movement of people in a safe, orderly and dignified manner. ECOWAS representatives emphasized the need to join forces and align approaches to prevent and counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to promote rights-based management of migration.

The meeting, which ended Thursday, also heard that policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons.

Aissata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub Saharan Africa, said the Global Compact for Migration was a landmark, multilateral document. “It aims to catalyze and boost combined support and assistance for addressing legal and humanitarian challenges of migration and foster its positive social, cultural and economic dividends within and outside the ECOWAS region.”

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IOM has been working with all stakeholders at intergovernmental and national levels, as well as within the UN Network for Migration, to promote safe, orderly and dignified free movement of people and economic exchange among ECOWAS Member States.

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IOM steps up help on Yemen’s West Coast as clashes heighten desperation

A displaced woman and her children in a makeshift shelter on the west coast of Yemen. Photo: IOM Yemen/Rami Ibrahim

Al Makha – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has ramped up its humanitarian assistance on Yemen’s west coast where the needs of communities displaced by years of conflict are growing amid ongoing violence.

The Organization is also urging more help from donors and aid partners.

IOM’s response is focusing primarily on the two governorates of Ta’iz and Hodeidah, where active frontlines continue to cause instability and force families to flee.

Since 2017, when mass displacement in the area began, tens of thousands of people have struggled to survive in protracted displacement in hard-to-reach areas where public services and humanitarian assistance are extremely limited.

“We were displaced here four years ago and we still feel unsafe from the bullets flying overhead,” said Aziza, a mother displaced in Khoka district. “There are seven families living in my small shelter. We can’t afford medical care or school costs. We need peace and we need to go back home.”

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More than 17,000 displaced families are living in more than 140 displacement sites in the area, while ongoing fighting continues to provoke new waves of displacement. Most recently, clashes in eastern Al Tuhayta district have displaced more than 200 families westward to safer areas.

“As the needs of displaced communities on the west coast continue to mount, IOM is ramping up its response to thousands of people in need of urgent services, especially health care, water and sanitation, and shelter,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

“We urge donors and other partners to commit more significant investments to ease the levels of desperation facing too many people on the west coast.”

As one of the few international humanitarian organizations operating in the area, IOM is implementing lifesaving interventions in 13 displacement sites, providing shelter, clean water, latrines, cash and essential relief items to thousands of families in need.

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The Organization is expanding the availability of health care to affected populations by enhancing primary and child and maternal health care, addressing malnutrition, promoting mental health and psychosocial support, providing incentives to health-care workers and deploying mobile medical teams in underserved areas.

IOM is working with donors and partners to support communities on the west coast by coordinating services in displacement sites, and promoting longer-term recovery with transitional shelters, rehabilitating water networks, increasing COVID-19 testing and constructing flood risk reduction walls.

The Government of Canada has been instrumental in IOM’s scale-up of the lifesaving humanitarian response to the most immediate needs of communities – namely water, health and shelter improvement.

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2021 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve, and new situations emerge.

READ  Nigeria declares returnees from Brazil, India, UAE, Turkey wanted

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Djibouti rolls out COVID-19 vaccinations for migrants

IOM is supporting Djibouti’s Ministry of Health in its vaccination roll-out in the different regions of the country. Photo: IOM/Amanda Nero (2017)

Djibouti – Migrants in Djibouti are being vaccinated against COVID-19 for the first time, as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) works with the Government to support the national immunization effort.

Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out globally, IOM has been advocating for the inclusion of migrants and Djibouti is one of the first countries in the region to initiate a campaign for them. Around 70 migrants have received jabs since the vaccination drive began on 12 October and it will continue till at least the end of the year.

The move is a crucial step towards protecting and safeguarding migrants across the East and Horn of Africa region, since Djibouti is one of the main transit countries for tens of thousands of migrants who attempt to leave the continent each year to find work, mainly in the Gulf countries.

More than 112,000 migrants passed through Djibouti in 2020 according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, despite the reduced mobility caused by the pandemic.

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The country is also a destination for thousands of stranded migrants, and those fleeing the conflict in Yemen. They often travel and live in overcrowded and makeshift settings, which disproportionately exposes them to COVID-19 and other health risks. Migrants also often have little access to COVID-19 prevention tools, such as reliable information, masks, sanitizer, clean water, and access to health services.

Migrants in Djibouti are receiving the vaccine at the Migration Response Centre (MRC) in Obock, one of several in the region where those in difficulty are assisted with shelter, food and health care, among other services. Nearly 1,000 migrants have sought and received support at the MRC in Obock, in the first half of this year.

“We’ve called on the local population, including migrants, to actively participate in the vaccination drive and reminded them that the vaccine is still the most effective way to protect yourself and those around you,” said the mayor of Obock, Abdoulmalik Mohamed Banoita.

IOM is also working to counter hesitancy and misconceptions around immunization, by conducting sensitization sessions in various languages.

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“The inclusion of migrants in the vaccine roll-out shows the Government of Djibouti’s commitment to include some of the countries’ most vulnerable people in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stéphanie Daviot, IOM’s Chief of Mission in the country.

“We are grateful to the Government for its commitment and partnership with IOM to provide assistance of this nature to migrants and help reduce the spread and impact of this disease.”

Djibouti has had more than 13,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 170 people have died since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this month IOM, the Ministry of Health, and other technical partners, launched an accelerated vaccination campaign with the objective of vaccinating 25 per cent of Djibouti’s population of about 1 million people. This target includes vulnerable population groups such as migrants and refugees.

The hope is that with the inclusion of migrants and communities on the move in the vaccine roll-out, the number of cases and negative impact of COVID-19 will be reduced.

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IOM is supporting the Ministry of Health in its vaccination roll-out in the different regions of the country within the framework of the East and Horn of Africa COVID-19 Strategic Response and Recovery Plan for 2021 and with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the US Department of State.

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For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

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