The UN has called for improved funding for law enforcement and other relevant agencies to effectively combat the menace of human trafficking in Nigeria.
UN Special Rapporteur, Maria Giammarinaro, made the call on Monday in Abuja while briefing newsmen on her preliminary observations after a week visit to assess issue of trafficking in persons in Nigeria
The envoy who commended the Federal Government for the efforts made so far in the fight against trafficking in persons in the country however, said a lot still needed to be done.
She also called on the international community to increase their support and cooperation with Nigeria in ensuring implementation of viable projects that would enhance jobs provision and poverty reduction.
“I advocate for improved funding for the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), law enforcement and relevant agencies.
“I also advocate for the establishment of functioning trust fund that will be solely dedicated to the fighting of trafficking in the country and to compensate the victims.
“I have to say that NAPTIP is underfunded, the law enforcement agency is underfunded, that shows very clearly why they provide poor services,” she said.
According to her, a lot has been done in the country to combat trafficking, NAPTIP has been doing a lot but what has been done is not enough.
“The Nigerian government needs to redouble efforts to achieve better results; unfortunately there is no indication of decrease in the trafficking trend.
“My main suggestion and recommendation to the government is to establish a dedicated fund to financing CSOs’ activities to prevent trafficking and assisting in rehabilitating victims.
She said that root causes of trafficking which are mainly poverty and unemployment must be addressed by providing jobs through skill acquisitions and trainings to the vulnerable.
“I have to say that the causes of the problem are mainly poverty and unemployment; although the country is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
“However, 64 per cent of the population live below the line of poverty about 40 per cent of the population is where unemployment is rampant,” she said.
She said that prevention was one of the areas that the international donors should cooperate with their Nigerian partner and improve initiatives that focus on projects implementation.
“Prevention has been considered mainly as key area to focus on by raising awareness about the risk of migration to inform that regular channel of migration is the better way,” she said.
Giammarinaro also advocated that there should be compensation to victims through the established fund which she said would enable them to live a better life after their return to the country.
She called on the Federal Government to pay more attention to the people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps saying they are the most vulnerable.
“IDPs relied heavily on humanitarian support to survive and they are vulnerable to sex exploitation and trafficking, particular attention should be paid to them.
“Another issue is the children released after being used by Boko Haram, those liberated by the Nigeria army have been subsequently detained.
“CSOs sources indicated that they are in appalling condition, these children have been forced to commit atrocities, they need intensive counseling and rehabilitation,” she said.
She also called on the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts at ensuring that the girls in Boko Haram’s detention are safely released.
“I don’t want to forget the girls that have been abducted by the Boko Haram whose fate still unknown they might have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation or other purposes.
“I urge the Nigerian government to continue to operate and ensure their release,” she said.
Edited by: Sadiya Hamza