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Experts and Stakeholders Seek For Effective Remedies to Trafficking in Persons

A consultative meeting to seek for effective remedies for trafficked persons and draft basic principles on the rights to an effective remedy for trafficked persons has held in Abuja.
 
The meeting was organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.N Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons and The National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP), to seek views on the right to effective remedies for trafficked victims, discuss the content of the draft basic principles, make recommendations and identify possible next steps.
 
At the meeting were representative from international organizations, U.N agencies, relevant stakeholders, academia, representative of different African groups with the aim of articulating suggestions and recommendations to yield solutions and reiterate the continent’s commitment to fighting the scourge of human trafficking.
 
The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Dr. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (OON), lamented that the rights of thousands of victims of human trafficking are continuously violated and are traumatized without access to legal information and legal assistance. She said trafficking in persons is a global problem and therefore the objective of the meeting was to seek for basic remedies by looking into the Trafficking in person’s laws, the mandate of African countries on human trafficking and fill in the missing gaps.
 
In his address, the United Nations Resident coordinator, Daouda Traoure, said there were lots of violations on human rights emanating from the issues of trafficking in persons, due to the large movement and migration of people. The root cause of trafficking in persons, he said were that of economic hardship and poverty. He however urged participants to seek for effective remedies in addressing trafficking in person’s issue and sued for good practices to ensure its success and implementation. He called on African countries to share experiences and seek for a common solution.
 
The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Allhaji Abdullahi Yola, in his welcome address, said the scourge of trafficking in persons has affected different nations in varying degrees, which also undermines human capacity development. According to him, no responsible government will ignore the dire implication of human trafficking, as the Federal Government of Nigeria has affirmed its commitment to fighting human trafficking by establishing NAPTIP, enacting Trafficking in Persons prohibition laws, ensuring adequate protection of victims and financial assistance to victims of human trafficking. He therefore enjoined participants to proffer remedy in alleviating the sufferings of victims of TIP and the need to close the gap that has been observed.
 
Nigeria’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Mr.Humphrey Orjiako, commended the Executive Secretary of NAPTIP for her vigor in the fight against human trafficking. According to him, victims in different parts of the world are compelled to travel across boarder line, solely for exploitative purposes. He therefore urged participants to collaborate, with the aim of further evaluating the progress of the report of the meeting.
 
The associate professor of clinical law, Duke University, USA, Jayne Huckerby said, international laws require governments of nations to provide remedy for TIP. It is obligatory, she said, for government to ensure the rights of women and children’s right to justice and to see to the safety of victims and their families. The big issue in USA, she said, was the issue of identifying victims of human trafficking, as this poses a huge problem for law enforcement officer. She was of the opinion that, victims corporation with law enforcement officers will go a long way in tackling the menace of human trafficking.
 
Speaking in the same vein, Dr Victoria Onuoha of the faculty of law, University of Benin, advocated for participants to focus on the regional level intervention which will cascade to states. One of the biggest challenges of the African states, she said, is their apathy for the crime. According to her, most African countries rely on their penal code to deal with cases of human trafficking, which is a sensitive issue. The international community has since recognized the issue of Trafficking in persons, while the African counties are still grappling with legislation on Trafficking in persons with the exception Nigeria but more, she said, still needs to be done, especially in the area of victim compensation.
 
The Executive Secretary NAPTIP, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, in her remark commended the organizers for initiating the meeting and participants for their contributions and recommendations to draft basic principles on the right to an effective remedy for trafficked persons.