Register or risk shut down, NAPTIP warns private rehabilitation homes

Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons on Monday in Abuja, directed all privately run rehabilitation shelters and homes for trafficked persons nationwide to obtain clearance certificates within 30 days or risk shut down.

This is according to a statement signed by the agency’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Stella Nezan, titled ‘Regulation 2019: NAPTIP issues 30-day ultimatum to private shelters and rehabilitation homes.’

The statement read, “The ultimatum, which takes effect from Wednesday, June 29, 2022, was handed down by the Director-General, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, at the weekend in Abuja at a meeting with a segment of the agency’s stakeholders.

“The ultimatum is based on the powers given to the agency under the Trafficking in Persons (Control of Activities of Organisations and Centres) Regulations 2019 and its resolve to give more effect to it after the grace period earlier given to the organisations to comply has expired.

“Regulation 2019 was issued by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN), on October 9, 2019.

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“The legislation, according to Dr Waziri-Azi, was necessitated by the disturbing cases of trafficking in persons by Nigerians, under the guise of educational, cultural and musical excursions; labour migration and sporting related travels to foreign countries, especially the Middle East, Eastern, and Central Europe.”

The DG also disclosed that the agency is closing in on travel agents and tour operators involved in the recruitment of Nigerians for labour outside the country, educational excursions, cultural, music excursions and competitions with children outside the country without obtaining the requisite clearance certificates from NAPTIP.

Explaining the rationale for the ultimatum, Waziri-Azi said unscrupulous persons hide under the façade of being travel agents, tour operators or recruiters of labour to deceive, defraud, and lure naïve victims to foreign countries for the purpose of exploitation, which takes the form of sexual exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage, slavery and removal of organs.

The regulation, which is fully operational, gives NAPTIP the powers to regulate, control and scrutinise all travels as categorised by the regulation and ensure that the intent and purpose of embarking on such travels are genuine, and it is projected that this regulatory function will reduce incidents of human trafficking.

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She further explained that the regulation empowers the agency to charge an administrative fee for the issuance of clearance certificates.

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