Regulation 2019: NAPTIP Goes Tough On Shelters And Homes Over Non-Compliance

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has disclosed that just Pathfinder Justice Initiative and the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) have fully complied with the Regulation 2019 on the rehabilitation of trafficked victims in Nigeria.

This, according to the Agency, is a worrying circumstance considering the numerous appeals and extension of the deadline for organizations operating shelters and homes offering services in the country.

A Statement issued by the Press Officer, Vincent Adekoye, states that the Director-General, Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi disclosed this on Friday, May 19, 2023 in her office at the end of a strategic meeting with officials of relevant departments and units of the Agency.

While leaning towards a possible clamp down on the defaulting Organisations, the NAPTIP Boss also disclosed that six others were in partial compliance. They are: The Second Voice Foundation; Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria; Patriotic Citizens Initiatives; Rays of Hope Community Foundation; Kids with a Vision Foundation; and Emmanuel World Children Foundation. These 6 organisations according to her have registered on the online clearance portal but have yet to schedule an inspection to their facilities by the team responsible.

Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi said: “Following the expiration of the ultimatum issued to organizations that operate shelters and homes offering services for the purpose of the rehabilitation of trafficked persons in Nigeria to obtain a license in accordance with the Trafficking in Persons (Control of Activities of Organizations and Centres) Regulations 2019, which has since expired, the Management of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), wishes to inform the public, members of the Civil Society Organization, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Development Partners, Donor Agencies State, and other stakeholders on the compliance of this Regulation by the affected organizations.

‘’The Agency had on two occasions extended the ultimatum issued to organizations. The extension was because of the intervention of the Network of Civil Society Organizations Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), to give organizations time to meet up with the deadline.

‘’Regulation 2019 was issued by the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN on the 9th of October 2019. The Regulation gives NAPTIP the powers to control and issue clearance certificate to travel agents or tour operators and intending travelers for the purpose of educational excursions; recruitment for labor; sporting activities; cultural, music excursions or competitions; and licenses to all organizations, shelters and homes offering services for the purpose of rehabilitation of trafficked persons.

‘’The Regulation was necessitated by the disturbing cases of the recruitment and exploitation of Nigerians under the guise of labour migration, educational, cultural, and musical excursions; and sporting-related travels in some destination countries, including ensuring that operators of shelters and homes offering services for the rehabilitation of trafficked persons humanely conduct their businesses within the ambit of the law.

‘’However, despite the extended ultimatums, consultations and sensitizations, many organizations have failed to comply. As a result, erring organizations risk immediate shutdown.

Further to the inherent risks the unpalatable scenario provides, the Director-General cautioned donor agencies, development partners and the public to note the organizations that have complied either fully or partially with the Regulations and be careful whom to deal with going forward.

She assured of a periodic update and publication of the list of organizations that have complied with the Regulation 2019, while also calling on interested parties to contact the agency to verify the compliance status of any organization that operates shelters and homes offering services for the rehabilitation of trafficked persons.

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