The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said it rescued and received 21,181 victims of human trafficking in 20 years.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, said this when she appeared before yjr Senate Committee on Social Duties for the defence of the 2024 budget.
She noted that the agency would try to support victims as long as they need to be supported, saying that the process takes time, a lot of money.
She explained that NAPTIP provides legal support medical support, rehabilitation and reintegration support and family tracing and reunion of rescued victims.
Waziri-Azi stated that in 2022, “NAPTIP rescued and received 2, 748 victims, which was 1,274 more victims that were rescued in 2022.
“From January to November 2023, we have already rescued and received 2,200 victims.
“Our shelter in Lagos has so far received the highest the highest number of victims, followed by Katsina because of the borders, Kano and FCT shelters,” she said.
She said in 2021 and 2022, Benue State has the highest number of rescued victims, followed by Ondo, Edo, Delta Kano and Imo States.
She also told the committee that for the first time, the agency secured the conviction of a Lebanese foreign national, who was involved in trafficking and exploiting Nigerian girls.
The NAPTIP DG noted, “So in twenty years, NAPTIP has secured the conviction of 639 convictions and counting, and on March 8, for the first time in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Interpol, the Italian government, a high profile trafficker Charity Omoye was extradited to Italy to serve her 13 years sentence.”
She said the enhanced visibility and activities of the organisation have put a challenge on the organisation as the complaints on human trafficking have increased.
According to her, “In 2022, the agency received 1,462 human trafficking complaints which was plus 31.9 per cent from the number received in 2021.
“This has caused a serious strain on our human and financial resources and the challenges confronting the organization are enormous.”
She said NAPTIP 2023 budget has appropriated a total of N2 billion based on the envelope to the organisation, while in 2024, N3 billion was being projected as total revenue for the organisation.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Shehu Kaka, said the committee would pay an oversight visit to the offices of NAPTIP for an on-the-spot assessment of its activities.