Judges to aid crackdown on human trafficking
Experts suggest Nigeria has the largest number of children exploited through human trafficking and street vending across sub-Saharan Africa, and have called on the judiciary to toughen crackdown.
The call comes as judges met in Abuja under the auspices of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) amidst concern over growing proliferation of baby factories in the south of the country and organised transnational crimes.
Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence Against Children, Corinne Dettmeijer, said, “Baby factory business in Nigeria is a new problem, and the world has to know it really exists.”
Sexual exploitation ranks high among trafficking crimes globally, and 53% of victims come from sub-Saharan Africa.
“We must understand that sexual exploitation happen in private homes and hotels,” said Dettmeijer.
“Recent trends from Nigeria is the baby factory, which is a crime we must not allow to thrive. We have to ensure that our laws make it punishable for perpetrators.”
NAPTIP’s latest report has been criticised for not capturing baby factories and street vending as serious crimes, alongside domestic and internal trafficking.
“They are all trafficking and should be called by its true name to give people the protection they deserve,” said Dettmeijer.
Worldwide reports into the phenomenon last year found reduced involvement of Nigerians in sexual exploitation, but analysts think the low figures are because many complaints are not registered and victims are unwilling to report cases.
Dettmeijer said Nigerian women trafficked to the Netherlands—lured by promised of loving relationships abroad, deception about the nature of work abroad and debts owed to human traffickers—“chose to keep silent about sexual exploitation because they are working to get resident permits.”
Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act ( TIPPEA) was re-enacted on 26th March, 2015 to help NAPTIP provide effective guide to prohibit, prevent, detect, prosecute and punish human trafficking, after the older legislation was discovered to have not been prepared for new trends in trafficking, according to the agency’s director-general Beatrice Agba.
“Human traffickers have become more technologically advanced in the perpetration of their nefarious activities to beat detection which has resulted in the need for a corresponding response by the agency,” said Agba.
“This can only be done by ensuring that investigators and prosecutors are abreast with modern technology and technicalities in law,” she said.
The new legislation will also aid national and international cooperation, and NAPTIP is looking to the judiciary to help implementation of TIPPEA.
Agba suggested mechanisms to enable victims of trafficking obtain “prompt and adequate redress through procedures that are expeditious, fair, inexpensive and accessible.”