The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons has given owners of private shelters offering services for trafficked persons in Nigeria a 30-day ultimatum to obtain their clearance certificates.
The ultimatum, which takes effect from Wednesday, was handed down by the Director-General, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi.
The ultimatum is based on the powers given to the agency under the Trafficking in Persons (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations 2019 and the resolve of the agency to give more effect to it after the grace period earlier given to the organisations to comply has expired.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Regulation 2019 was issued by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on October 9, 2019.
Waziri-Azi, who spoke in Abuja, said: “This legislation was necessitated by the disturbing cases of trafficking in persons by Nigerians.
“Trafficking activities are done under the guise of education, cultural and musical excursions; labour migration; and sporting related travels to foreign counties, especially the Middle East, Eastern, and Central Europe.”
The Director-General also disclosed that the agency was also closing-in on travel agents and tour operators involved in the recruitment of Nigerians for labour outside the country.
She said that many of these agencies are operating, trafficking children to outside Nigeria to different form of labour without obtaining the requisite clearance certificates from NAPTIP.
She explained that many have hide under the façade of being a travel agent, tour operator or recruiter of labour to deceive, defraud, and lure naïve victims to foreign countries for the purpose of exploiting them.
Waziri-Azi said that some of the labour work these children passed through are sexual exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage, slavery and that organs of some of these children are removed.
According to her, the regulations which is fully operational, gives NAPTIP the powers to regulate, control and scrutinise all travels as categorised by the regulation and ensure that the intent and purpose of such person embarking on the travel are genuine.
The regulatory function, she said, would reduce incidents of human trafficking, adding that, the regulation empowers the agency to charge an administrative fee for the issuance of Clearance Certificates.
The fee, according to her, is to cover the cost of verification of documents submitted by the applicants via https://tipclearance.naptip.gov.ng/.
She stated that the trafficking in person (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations, 2019, was in place to ensure that labour recruitment, travel agents, tour operations and operators of shelters and rehabilitation home operate within the ambit of law.
Waziri-Azi stated that all these was to stem the dreadful trend of human trafficking.