NAPTIP boss blames irregular migration on legalisation of prostitution in Europe

Director General of NAPTIP, Barr Julie Okah-Donli

The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli, has blamed legalization of prostitution in most European countries as one of the pulling factors influencing illegal migration of young girls from Africa to Europe.

The Director-General stated this in Abuja recently while hosting the new Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karslsen.

She said: “We must begin to address the menace from the situations in both source and destination countries. We must address those things that make prostitution attractive in the destination countries. We must take a look at the legalization of prostitution in some destination countries in Europe and the effect of such legislation on the global efforts to fight human trafficking.”

She added that NAPTIP is reaching out to endemic communities across the country as part of its massive awareness creation programme to stem the tide of human trafficking and irregular migration.She stressed that NAPTIP is not just targeting women and girls, it is also taking men and boys into consideration because they are equally victims of labour exploitation, organ harvesting and even sexual exploitation.

She also called for the crippling of human traffickers’ economically by destination countries and international law enforcement agencies if the fight against human trafficking is to be won.

“We must cripple traffickers economically by tracing and freezing their accounts for the benefit of victims of human trafficking. We must take their money and render them impotent,” she said.

She also stressed the need for destination countries to work closely with the Nigerian Embassies in the areas of victims’ identification, language barriers and assistance to victims.She urged the European Union and her members to consciously deal with issues of pornographic sites, massage parlours and farms scattered all over Europe where victims of human trafficking from Nigeria and Africa are daily exploited.

“What are the destination countries doing about the pornographic sites, massage parlours, and escort services? You have the factories, farms, restaurants and you can see them and the exploitations that go on in such places. Do more investigations in the destination countries and clamp down on those businesses. Look into yours as we are looking into ours,” she stated.

The NAPTIP boss also spoke to the need for equal attention to be focused on the trafficking and exploitation of boys and men by traffickers.

She said: “Boys and men are even more brutalized and nobody is doing anything about it. These are the people who when they survive and are deported back home, they become potential armed robbers, hired assassins and engage in other crimes. We need to empower them and help them rather than focus only on the plights of the girls and children.”

Okah-Donli, also harped on the need for stakeholders across the world to address the issues of human trafficking from both source and destination countries.

In his remarks, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria said that the current increase in human trafficking and irregular migration is an issue of shared common responsibility that must be addressed by all stakeholders in order to arrive at reasonable results.

He stated further that the European nations are deeply committed to the eradication of all forms of trafficking and irregular migration due to its attendant consequences, which is always grievous in most cases.

The Ambassador pointed out that human trafficking and irregular migration are phenomenon of huge priority to the European Union, which must be addressed from the demand sides.

According to him, efforts must be made to address the problems specifically from the departure side as part of the comprehensive approach, adding that inter-countries cooperation as well as adequate intelligence sharing must also be encouraged.

While assuring NAPTIP of increased support of the European Union towards eradication of human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria, the envoy called for a change in the method of fighting the menace, describing human traffickers as criminal opportunists.

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Dame Julie Okah-DonliNAPTIP
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