NAPTIP is the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons. Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest rates of human trafficking in the world. In response to this problem, the Federal government established the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). This is also because the country also has international obligations to use all possible means to prevent and eliminate human trafficking, especially women and children as well as punish offenders under the law. This is in relations to the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention (UNTOC). On 13th December 2000, Nigeria became a signatory to the Transnational Organized Crime Convention and its Trafficking in Persons Protocol.
Under the Article 5 of the Trafficking Protocol Countries, all countries that are a part of this signatory were enjoined to criminalize activities and conduct that subject human beings to any form of exploitation which includes but not limited to sexual and labour exploitation.
The agency was created on the 14th of July 2003 by the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 which was a private member bill through the advocacy of Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF). WOTCLEF is a non-governmental organization founded by Mrs Amina Titi Atiku Abubakar, the wife of the Vice-President of Nigeria at that time.
The Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 7th July 2003 and Presidential Assent was given on 14th of July 2003. According to the law, NAPTIP was created as a multi-disciplinary crime-fighting agency and the country’s central institution in fighting human trafficking using the four P’s: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership.
The Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 was amended in 2005. However, in 2015, due to the frequent cases of human trafficking and stronger operations of criminals, the Act was repealed and the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 was enacted. This was to strengthen the institutional framework of the agency. Presidential assent was given to the new act on 26th March 2015.
Functions of NAPTIP and other details
Functions of the Agency
Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) functions to:
- Enforce and administer the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement and Administration Act (2015)
- Enforcement of all other laws on Trafficking in persons and offences related to human rights violation.
- Seek for and adopt effective measures and machinery for the prevention and eradication of trafficking in persons and related offences.
- Investigate all cases of trafficking in persons and modern slavery including forced labour, sales and purchase of humans, child labour, forced prostitution, illegal smuggling of migrants, exploitative labour, removal of organs, bonded labour slavery and other slavery-like activities.
- Encourage and make easier the availability and participation of persons who willingly consent to assist in investigations or proceedings relating to human trafficking and other related offences.
- Enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement agents and other partners in the suppression of trafficking in persons.
- Create public education and awareness of the dangers of human trafficking and means of avoidance through seminars, workshops, publications, radio and television programmes and other means
- Conduct research and strengthen effective legal means of international and domestic co-operation in investigating criminal cases.
- Implement all bilateral and multilateral treaties and conventions on trafficking in persons adopted by Nigeria.
- Engage in partnership with domestic and international law enforcement and security agencies and authorities for the eradication of trafficking in persons.
- Responsible for the protection, assistance and rehabilitation of trafficked persons.
- Adopt measures to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds, property, funds or other assets derived from trafficking in persons or related offences.
- Conduct research on factors responsible for domestic and international human trafficking and provide programmes and initiatives aimed at the prevention and elimination of the problem.
- Contribute to the rapid exchange of scientific and technical information concerning human trafficking.
- Establish and maintain a system for monitoring trans-border activities relating to trafficking in persons in order to identify suspicious movements and persons involved.
- Carry out other activities that are considered necessary for the efficient discharge of the functions conferred on the agency under this Act.
Achievements of NAPTIP
As of September 2017, the agency had recorded over 331 convictions on human trafficking. Between 2003 and 2017, over 3000 victims have been rescued by NAPTIP.
With the help of the Federal government and other international agencies, the agency has been at the forefront of rescuing and rehabilitating Nigerians from Libya. The agency was also commended by the United States.
Departments and Units of NAPTIP
In order to properly discharge its duties in combating human trafficking, the agency is made up of the following units
- Investigation and Monitoring.
- Legal and Prosecution.
- Counselling & Rehabilitation.
- Public Enlightenment.
- Research and Programmes Development
- Training and Manpower Development.
- Finance and Accounts.
- Press and Public Relations.
- Intelligence and International Cooperation.
- Rapid Response Squad (RRS)
Powers of the Agency
The Agency is empowered to:
- Investigate whether any person, body or organization has committed an offence under this Act or the offence of human trafficking under any other law.
- Have access into any premises, property or vehicle for the purpose of searches in the execution of its functions under this Act or under any other law.
- Arrest, detainment and prosecution of offenders under this Act or any other law on trafficking in persons in Nigeria.
- Trace, seize, detain or retain the custody of any properties which the agency believes under reasonable conclusions to have been used in committing offences under this Act or any other law.
- Seal up premises and restrict entrance or exit upon of premises suspected to be in use or connected with offences under this Act.
- Seek and receive information from any person, authority, corporation or organization that will enhance the agency in the discharge of its functions under the provisions of this Act.