Human trafficking is a crime and a violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims. The five (5) states in the northwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria have witnessed a surge in cross-border human trafficking and exploitation due to the large and mostly unmanned borders some of these States share with the Niger Republic. These unmanned borders serve as routes for trafficking victims as they provide the opportunity for traffickers to engage in their nefarious activities without fear of being apprehended. The prevailing insecurity situation within the region is also a major contributing factor to human trafficking. Banditry and other violent crimes have led to the displacement of thousands and thus make them vulnerable to trafficking. It is also important to note that these North-western states share similar socio-cultural practices with the Niger Republic and this further makes trafficking activities seamless.
The current situation in this region had led to an increase in the numbers of victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups in the region exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse. Statistics from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in 2022 for the Northwest zone show a high number of rescued VoTs. For example, figures from NAPTIP revealed that eighty hundred and ninety-nine (899) persons were rescued by the agency in Kastina in 2022. While figures for Kano and Sokoto are Three Hundred and Sixty-Six (366) as of June 2022 and One Hundred and Forty-Three (143) respectively. It is therefore imperative that organisations in this region providing general or specialised victim and support services to Victims of Trafficking and other vulnerable groups exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse, are equipped with relevant knowledge of best practices in service delivery to VoTs.
In this light, the Centre for Health Ethics Law and Development (CHELD) held a four-day capacity-building training programme for members of civil society, governmental agencies and faith-based organisations aimed at strengthening victim-centred and rights-based approaches in the scope of the provision of services among actors of the VoTs protection chain.