The Director -General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, has called for an increased collaboration between the governments of Finland and Nigeria in order to reduce the incidences of human trafficking and illegal migration in the two countries. The NAPTIP DG who expressed worry over the plights of Nigerian – Europe bound migrants, identified sustained cooperation, capacity building, surveillance as well as intelligence sharing as some of the basic ingredients for combating the menace of human trafficking that is presently a global concern.
She stated this while playing host to the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Jirjo Suomela-Chowdhury who led a team comprising officials of the Embassy and the visiting officials of the Finnish Border Guards to her office. The DG who acknowledged the fruitful collaboration between the Agency and the government of Finland over the years and which were the fall-out of the earlier memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both parties reminded the Ambassador of some of the components of the agreement that were yet to be implemented and the urgent need to activate them. According to her, these unattended provisions of the earlier MOU include the modalities for exchange of information, monitoring of human trafficking occurrences in both countries with a view to determining adequate response, provision of mutual support, capacity development and other counter trafficking initiative components.
She also solicited the support of the government of Finland in the rehabilitation and care of victims. Speaking earlier, the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Jirjo Suomela-Chowdhury described human trafficking as a phenomenon that is very difficult to comprehend bearing in mind the horrible experiences of the victims in the hands of traffickers. While commending the Agency for its uprightness and accountability while executing the earlier signed MOU which was coordinated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Finland envoy expressed readiness to further support NAPTIP in a bid to curbing human trafficking.
She briefed the Director General on the new video conferencing technology at the Embassy adding that such could be used to investigate or enhance understanding of issues of human trafficking especially with other partners in Finland. The Ambassador stressed the need to strengthen protection around victims in line with the required standard in order to guarantee their safety in the face of increased desperation among the traffickers.
For: Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)