Following the successes recorded in the joint operations between operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and the United Kingdom’s Border Force at the Heathrow and Gatwick Airports in London recently, the British High Commission in Nigeria is to further assist the Agency in its operations.
The position of the High Commission was made known in Lagos by the Deputy High Commissioner, Laure Beaufils, when she received in audience the Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, who led a team of officials on a visit to the office of the Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
Beaufils reiterated the readiness of the High Commission and indeed the British Government to continually support the Agency through the provision of various skill sets and know-how in both the long and short terms in the fight against human trafficking.
She described the United Kingdom as a strong ally of the Agency in its quest to effectively tackle Human trafficking, adding that the fight is a priority to the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel.
Beaufils expressed her office’s readiness to help the Agency drum up support both nationally and internationally.
She also informed the Director-General that she personally cares immensely about the issues of trafficking in persons and women’s right, an interest that saw her work with sex workers in Cambodia.
Speaking earlier, the Director General said the courtesy visit was part of her familiarization visit to partners in Lagos.
She expressed appreciation to the High Commission for its level of partnership and collaboration with the Agency in tackling human trafficking in Nigeria, especially for the recent capacity building and training received by the Agency under the Joint Border Task Force project.
She disclosed that the Agency has recorded more success in its investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases with the technical support provided to its operatives by the Joint Border Task Force (JBTF) mentors from the United Kingdom. Okay-Donli, however, described the recent involvement of NAPTIP officers in profiling traffickers at the Heathrow and Gatwick airports as timely and a welcome development.
The Director General assured the Deputy High Commissioner that NAPTIP under her watch will not compromise on standards adding that efforts were ongoing to build a stronger network of partners aimed at bringing to bear diverse skill sets and support to ensure that the menace of human trafficking is reduced to the barest minimum in Nigeria.
She decried the fact that due to ignorance, many are still unaware of the socio-economic and even health risks the crime of human trafficking poses to individuals and the nation. Okay-Donli informed the Deputy High Commissioner that the Agency has commenced a massive enlightenment campaign across the country to educate the public especially at the community levels in order to prevent the continued activities of human traffickers in poor communities from where most victims are recruited.
She however, urged the Deputy High Commissioner to always lend her voice to NAPTIP’s call and quest to change the narrative of human trafficking in Nigeria.