Nigerian doctor Rilwanu Mohammed (L), executive secretary of the federal capital's Primary Health Care Development Board, vaccinates a resident for meningitis in Dakwa village, Bwari, Nigeria, 4 April 2017. EPA/Deji Yake
Nigerian doctor Rilwanu Mohammed (L), executive secretary of the federal capital's Primary Health Care Development Board, vaccinates a resident for meningitis in Dakwa village, Bwari, Nigeria, 4 April 2017. EPA/Deji Yake

Following a network meeting in Nigeria last week, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) has created a technical working group and a social media information network to fight human trafficking in Nigeria.

The UN migration agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Nigerian authorities created a social media network to fight human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria at the first National Awareness Raising Strategy Synergy meeting to combat human trafficking held in Nigeria on 18 September. 


The event was organized by IOM in collaboration with the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI). Its aim was to foster better collaboration among government partners, civil society organizations and other stakeholders working towards raising awareness about the dangers of irregular migration and human trafficking in communities of origin in Nigeria. 

Working to prevent human trafficking victims 

"We are not going to stop people from migrating; migration is a right, but we must work together to ensure that those migrating are not being trafficked," said Arinze Orakwue, a NAPTIP director. The meeting was held in Calabar, Cross River State, a border town and seaport in south-east Nigeria that has witnessed an increase of cases of human trafficking and irregular migration. 

Last year, Cross River State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General Joe Abang said traffickers used ports and various creeks in the area to transport their victims to countries like Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon among others. From April 2017 to date, IOM has helped 32 female and 25 male migrants return home to Cross River from Libya. 

A working group and a social network 

The meeting was funded by the European Union and the Italian government under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. The meeting paved the way for the formation of a technical working group on national awareness raising to combat human trafficking, to be chaired by NAPTIP. 

Participants also agreed to establish a social media network called Partners Against Trafficking and Irregular Migration (PATIM). The network will facilitate information and knowledge sharing among relevant state and non-state actors for effective coordination of all awareness activities aimed at combatting human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria. 
 

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