The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says it has secured the conviction of no fewer than 38 sexual offenders in the last year across the country.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs. Julie Okah-Donli disclosed this on Monday in Enugu, during the training of stakeholders and members of state task forces on human trafficking in the South East.
Okah-Donli said that the 38 people were those recorded in its register between November 2019 and November 2020.
She said that the essence of the sexual offender register launched in November 2019 was to name and shame sexual offenders in the country.
“As at last week, a total of 38 convicted people have been documented in the register with 414 cases reported and 108 fingerprints digitally captured,” she said.
On human trafficking, Okah-Donli said that the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic posed greater challenges to the crusade against the crime.
“Some heartless human traffickers are already taking advantage of the situation to deceive and recruit vulnerable youths and traffic them.
“Therefore, we must re-strategise and double efforts in curbing the menace,” the director-general said.
Okah-Donli said that NAPTIP, in conjunction with state governments and with the support of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other partners had between 2019 and 2020 inaugurated State Task Forces on Human Trafficking.
She said that the workshop was aimed at equipping members of the task forces with the necessary skills to curtail incidences of human trafficking.
“The state task forces on human trafficking are strategic instruments that NAPTIP adopted to harness counter-trafficking efforts at the sub-national level.
“It will create important synergies in the fight against human trafficking in the country,” she said.
The NAPTIP boss said that no fewer than 443 traffickers have been convicted and about 17, 000 victims rescued by the agency.
“Our resolve is to end human trafficking in Nigeria and I commend the commitment of IOM who are the sponsors of this project and the commitment of NAPTIP officers on this project,” Okah-Donli said.
Ms. Bertha Ngunelu, IOM Project Officer, Counter-Trafficking said that the organisation had continued to collaborate with NAPTIP over the years.
Ngunelu said that such collaboration was aimed at addressing the issues of human trafficking through the establishment of state-based task forces to address the peculiarities of each state.
“Training like this will provide a platform to provide conceptual clarity on human trafficking, smuggling, and irregular migration,” the project officer said.
She added that IOM had assisted in the return of no fewer than 19, 000 migrants to Nigeria from Libya and European countries.