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NAPTIP Operatives to Work At Heathrow, Gatwick Airports

Operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) are to work at the Heathrow and Gatwick Airports in London in a joint operation with the security authorities of the United Kingdom. This joint operation which will be for a short period will see the operatives of NAPTIP working side by side with the UK Border Force and other relevant Agencies at the two gateways into the United Kingdom. This is the outcome of some high level meetings in London between the Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli and officials of the Home Office of the United Kingdom.

As part of her partnership drive and in furtherance of her vision towards making NAPTIP a big player in counter trafficking initiatives across the globe, the Director-General has been engaging various partners within and outside Nigeria,seeking ways of further improving the operations of the Agency and the early rescueof Nigerian Potential Victims of Trafficking in Person (PVoTs) their captors.

During her meeting with the officials of the Home Office in London, the authorities approved the joint operations at the two airports aimed atrandomly profiling passengers with a view to identifying PVoTs and suspected traffickers. The gesture is a result of the NAPTIP Boss’ persistence in promoting mutual respect and liaison amongst law enforcement agencies across the globe in the fight against human trafficking.

This milestonewill improve mutual sharing of experience, intelligence and expertise between Nigeria and the United Kingdom based on the fact that Nigerian PVoTs could be better identified by Nigerians after thorough assessment of indicators of trafficking.

At the various meetings held at the Home Office, the Director-General engaged with the Senior Officials of the Home Office led by the Manager, Dave Pennant;Investigation and Prosecution team, officials of the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) ModernSlavery and Human Trafficking Unit Team, officials of theModern Slavery Unit, Immigrations, and the UK Border Force. The issues addressed at these meetings included illegal migration, victims care and prosecution of trafficking suspects.

In her presentation, Okah-Donli who spoke on the need for better collaboration by various countries and the urgent need for joint operations in the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration,stressed the relevance of NAPTIP’s presence at all Borders and Airports to effectively profilePVoTs and traffickers for necessary actionsas other sister law enforcement agencies at such points are overwhelmed with their own areas of mandate and have little or no time to deal with other issues including identification of PVoTs and human traffickers.

She subsequently emphasised the need to involve operatives of NAPTIP who have also been trained by the UK authorities to jointlywork with the UK Border Force at the two Airports.

Commending the UK authorities for the gesture, Okah-Donli said she will ensure that the operation yields the desired results which would market such collaborative effort to other partnering countries. She however, warned traffickers and their collaborators to look for better businesses outside of trafficking, stressing, “If we miss you here in Nigeria at departure, we will not miss you as you arrive your destination”.

Josiah Emerole

Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)