Human trafficking exists in Nigeria and around the world today, and it affects women, girls, children and youth. Human trafficking leaves no country untouched. Nigerians are trafficked right here and outside the borders to Europe and other continents.
Hence, this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons focus is on first responders: law enforcement officers, NGO staff, social workers, advocates, counselors, healthcare professionals.
As COVID-19 pandemic has put the world under enormous strain, affecting the lives of everyone, trafficked persons and first responders are among the most affected group of people. It has made the fight against human trafficking more difficult, putting victims at greater risk of exploitation. The role of first responders in identifying, supporting, counseling, and seeking justice for victims is paramount in tackling human trafficking, especially during this difficult times. I have chosen to call first responders great anti-human trafficking soldiers because they are sacrificing a lot to protect the vulnerable.
There is urgent need to equip and support these people who at the frontline of fighting human trafficking, to increase and improve their services while protecting them from this pandemic.
A-TIPSOM project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Spanish Public Foundation FIIAPP, has been working together with and providing support to Nigerian government agencies (National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Police Force) and civil society organizations to intensify the fight against trafficking of women and children.
This year, while COVID19 pandemic has uttered the ways first responders work, A-TIPSOM has continued to support them. We have donated palliatives to assists their works in providing quality services to trafficked persons.
ATIPSOM believes that a global problem like trafficking in persons needs a global solution, and first responders need to be equipped. For that goal, we will keep working together with key stakeholders and partners to support first responders, and increasing awareness on trafficking in persons.
For this purpose, I call on relevant stakeholders, private sectors, community groups and individuals to come together, work together and achieve together in the first against this heinous crime- human trafficking.
Mr. Rafael Rios Molina,
Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM)