The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Thursday unveiled a school curriculum that it developed to take awareness of human trafficking to basic and senior secondary schools.
NAPTIP’s Director-General, Ms Julie Okah Donli said that the curriculum was produced by the agency with the support of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and with the sponsorship of the European Union (EU).
Okah-Donli said that the idea of the curricular was to educate the young ones about the dynamics and dangers of human trafficking and to protect them against falling victims.
“ It is my pleasure to welcome you to this event to showcase the document produced by NAPTIP with the support of ICPMD and the sponsorship of the EU.
“Over the years, we have sought ways to effectively create awareness on the dangers of human trafficking amongst the youths.
“We had the brilliant idea to mainstream issues of trafficking into the curricular of basic and senior secondary school in Nigeria, but we lacked the wherewithal.
“ICMPD agreed to support us as part of their demand driven facility project,’’ she said.
She said the NAPTIP had also developed a training manual for staff and other law enforcement agencies to effectively tackle the crime of human trafficking.
“We also saw the need to develop a comprehensive training manual that will be used to train newly recruited NAPTIP staff and other law enforcement officials on human trafficking.
“ICMPD also accepted to support us in the production of the training manual. This project took over three years to complete during which our officers and other experts worked tirelessly,’’ she said.
She said that the issue of human trafficking had been effectively mainstreamed into school curricular; adding that school pupils would benefit immensely when it takes effect.
Prof. Mojeed Alabi, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights also commended the idea of the curricular.
He expressed confidence in the efficiency of NAPTIP, while pledging the support of the legislature to all initiatives that would help stamp out human trafficking from Nigeria.
“I am honoured to be here to witness the showcase of the outcome of NAPTIP’s cooperation with the ICMPD.
“ I am confident in the ability of the agency to be able to take Nigeria to the next level in the fight against modern slavery, servitude and human trafficking.
“We assure you that we are ready to give the needed support to ensure that NAPTIP and other relevant agencies achieve their mandate.
“ We will work to ensure that Nigeria is counted amongst countries that have taken steps to ensure that all human beings live humanly dignified life and are not subjects of trafficking anywhere,’’ he said.
The Head of ICMPD in Nigeria, Ms Moji Sodeinde emphasised that the project was funded by the EU.
She said that the project was necessitated by the knowledge that human trafficking activities also occurred in schools.
“The demand driven facility is funded by the EU under the support of free movement of persons and migrations in West Africa.
“Through these actions, human trafficking issues were infused into the curricular of primary and secondary schools; this was achieved in collaboration with the Nigeria Education Research Council.
“Confirmed cases have revealed that school age children are being trafficked; that trafficking activities occur on school premises; that trafficking occurs during school sponsored events and traffickers often use students as traffickers.
“Students may meet traffickers while commuting to and from school, and Some trafficked children may continue to attends school while experiencing labour and sexual exploitations; this necessitates prevention and response training in schools,’’ she said.
The Deputy Head of EU, Mr Richard Young submitted that the subject of migration was sensitive because it had different sides to it.
He urged migrants to shun irregular migrations and commended the idea of a school curricular to enlighten the young ones.
“The subject of migration is very sensitive, it is something that occupies the minds of our leaders, it has many different dimensions like the good, the bad and the ugly.
“There are good sides to migration, people have to travel to work in other places; it is all about mobility and exchange.
“There is also the bad side, when people travel illegally, when they deliberately overstay their visas, they break immigration rules in their host countries.
“The ugly side has to do with human trafficking and about slavery, when people risk their lives just to travel to other places. We should take actions to minimise the bad and eliminate the ugly,’’ he said.
Young said that the idea of taking the issue of migration to the young people was commendable.
“One important thing is to talk to young people, and one huge step is to develop the curricular.
“ I understand that they have done that in three major subjects, social studies, civics and English.
“They should take this to the states, to the teachers and to the students, particularly in those states that are most affected,’’ he advised.
The event was also attended by Mme Goge Maimouna, the Director-General of the Nigerien National Agency against Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Trafficking of Migrants, who was on a working visit to NAPTIP.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).