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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
READ  Niger breaks up Sudanese refugees sit-in as fire destroys their camp

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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Netherlands, IOM launch Global Migration Initiative to protect people on the move

COMPASS will provide vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children access to a broad range of protection and assistance services.

 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands launched the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions initiative (COMPASS) at the beginning of 2021. COMPASS is a global initiative, in partnership with 12 countries, designed to protect people on the move, combat human trafficking and smuggling, and support dignified return while promoting sustainable reintegration.

The initiative is centred on a whole-of-society approach which, in addition to assisting individuals, will work across all levels – households, communities, and the wider communities – and encompasses the following partner countries: Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

“We want to mobilize families, peers and communities to encourage informed and safe migration decisions, protect migrants, and help those returning home reintegrate successfully,” said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department of Migration Management at IOM.

READ  Conflicts, disasters displace 12 million children in 2019- UNICEF

“One key component is also undermining the trafficking and smuggling business models through the promotion of safe alternatives and information sharing to reduce the risks of exploitation and abuse by these criminal networks.” Vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children, will have access to a broad range of protection and assistance services such as mental health and psychosocial support, while migrants in transit who wish to return home will be supported with dignified return and reintegration.

Community level interventions will focus on improving community-led efforts to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and support sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. COMPASS will work with national and local governments to enable a conducive environment for migrant protection, migration management and international cooperation on these issues.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to launch the COMPASS programme in cooperation with IOM, an important and longstanding partner on migration cooperation,” said Marriët Schuurman, Director for Stability and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

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“The programme is a part of the Dutch comprehensive approach to migration with activities that contribute to protection and decreasing irregular migration. Research and data gathering are also important components, and we hope that the insights that will be gained under COMPASS will contribute to broader knowledge sharing on migration and better-informed migration policies.”, added Schuurman. The initiative has a strong learning component, designed to increase knowledge and the uptake of lessons learned, both within the programme and beyond its parameters. COMPASS will actively contribute to global knowledge that supports countries in managing migration flows and protecting vulnerable migrants such as victims of trafficking. The implementation of COMPASS is set to start soon.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, as the donor to the COMPASS initiative, pledges its active support to partner countries to improve migration cooperation mechanisms within its long-term vision. 

IOM, the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, contributes its expertise as the technical implementation partner to the initiative. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners in its dedication to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. 

READ  Returnees, health workers join hands to improve psychosocial well-being in Nigeria

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A child, 40 others drown in shipwreck off Tunisia

Photo: Mediterranean Sea

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Sidi Mansour, in southeast Tunisia, yesterday evening. The bodies of 41 people, including at least one child, have so far been retrieved.

According to reports from local UNHCR and IOM teams, three survivors were rescued by the Tunisian National Coast Guard. The search effort was still underway on Friday. Based on initial information, all those who perished were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

This tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to enhance and expand State-led search and rescue operations across the Central Mediterranean, where some 290 people have lost their lives so far this year. Solidarity across the region and support to national authorities in their efforts to prevent loss of life and prosecute smugglers and traffickers should be a priority.

Prior to yesterday’s incident, 39 refugees and migrants had perished off the coast near the Tunisian city of Sfax in early March. So far this year, sea departures from Tunisia to Europe have more than tripled compared to the same period in 2020.

READ  UNHCR seeks assistance for thousands of Ethiopians fleeing Tigray region

UNHCR and IOM continue to monitor developments closely. They continue to stand ready to work with the national authorities to assist and support the survivors, and the family members of those lost.

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Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

Yemen: Stranded Ethiopian migrants prepare to board an IOM-facilitated flight from Aden, Yemen, to fly home to Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM/Majed Mohammed 2021

One hundred and sixty Ethiopian migrants have returned home safely from Yemen today with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), just one day after a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden claimed the lives of dozens of people, including at least 16 children.

More than 32,000 migrants, predominantly from Ethiopia, remain stranded across Yemen in dire, often deadly, circumstances.

“The conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen has become so tragic that many feel they have no option but to rely on smugglers to return home,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Director for Operations and Emergencies.

At least 42 people returning from Yemen are believed to have died on Monday when their vessel sank off the coast of Djibouti. Last month, at least 20 people had also drowned on the same route according to survivors. IOM believes that, since May 2020, over 11,000 migrants have returned to the Horn of Africa on dangerous boat journeys, aided by unscrupulous smugglers.

READ  IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre releases report on 'Migration from and within West and North Africa'

“Our Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme provides a lifeline for those stranded in a country now experiencing its seventh year of conflict and crisis. We call on all governments along the route to come together and support our efforts to allow migrants safe and dignified opportunities to travel home,” added Labovitz.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on global migration. The route from the Horn of Africa to Gulf countries has been particularly affected. Tens of thousands of migrants, hoping to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), now find themselves unable to complete their journeys, stranded across Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

While the pandemic has also caused the number of migrants arriving to Yemen to decrease from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020, the risks they face continue to rise. Many of these migrants are stranded in precarious situations, sleeping rough without shelter or access to services. Many others are in detention or being held by smugglers.

READ  Bringing judges and prosecutors together to combat impunity for trafficking in persons in Nigeria

“We cannot find jobs or food here; Yemen is a problem for us,” said Gamal, a 22-year-old migrant returning on the VHR flight. “I used to sleep in the street on cardboard. I could only eat because of the charity people would give me and sometimes we were given leftovers from restaurants. I never had much to eat.”

Since October 2020, in Aden alone, IOM has registered over 6,000 migrants who need support to safely return home. Today’s flight to Addis Ababa was the second transporting an initial group of 1,100 Ethiopians who have been approved for VHR to Ethiopia. Thousands of other undocumented migrants are waiting for their nationality to be verified and travel documents to be provided.

Prior to departure on the VHR flight, IOM carried out medical and protection screenings to ensure that returnees are fit to travel and are voluntarily consenting to return. Those with special needs are identified and receive specialized counselling and support.

In Ethiopia, IOM supports government-run COVID-19 quarantine facilities to accommodate the returnees on arrival and provides cash assistance, essential items and onward transportation to their homes. The Organization also supports family tracing for unaccompanied migrant children.

READ  Lamentations trail NIDCOM chairperson's evacuation update post 

Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen, IOM provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food, water and other vital assistance.

Today’s flight was funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by EU Humanitarian Aid and PRM.

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