We have returned 21,000 Nigerians trafficked abroad since 2016 –UN

The United Nations says it has so far returned 21,000 Nigerians trafficked abroad in the last five years.

The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, disclosed this on Friday during the commemoration of the 2021 World Day against Human Trafficking at NAF International Conference Centre in Abuja.

Kallon stated that the United Nations would continue to support the Federal Government in its efforts to address human trafficking.

He said, “Since the launch of the European Union Trust Fund-IOM Joint Initiative, the UN has returned over 21,000 Nigerian citizens—half of whom are from Edo State—from Libya, Niger and Mali, among others. These people had been in situations that made them highly vulnerable to trafficking.”

Kallon also urged the government, the organised private sector and civil society to integrate survivors in the fight against human trafficking, adding that it was important to listen and learn from Nigerian survivors.

He said, “It is extremely important to listen and learn from Nigerian survivors of human trafficking. They can play a crucial role in establishing effective measures against trafficking by identifying and rescuing victims and supporting them on their road to rehabilitation.

“Let’s make survivors key actors in the fight against human trafficking. Their experience can offer a path to preventing further instances of this terrible crime.”

The Director General of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Basheer Muhammed, also unveiled two projects to be implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Muhammed, who was represented by the agency’s Director (Legal and Prosecution), Hassan Tahir, said, “As part of the notable highlights of this year’s event, we are unveiling two projects.

“The first project is ‘Strengthening Nigeria’s Criminal Justice Response to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants—PROMIS.’ The project is supported by The Netherlands and it seeks to support NAPTIP and the Nigeria Immigration Service in addressing identified gaps in the criminal response to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.”

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