By Aderogba George
Abuja – Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, the Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has restated the agency’s commitment to fight human trafficking.
Okah-Donli made this pledge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
According to her, the NAPTIP policy is not to keep victims of human trafficking for longer than necessary.
The DG was reacting to the recent comments by the Human Rights Watchdog, accusing it of deliberately prolonging the stay of victims of human trafficking in its shelters.
She stated that victims’ period of stay in NAPTIP’s shelters depended on their conditions, saying, “individuals are treated on their merit, case files, as what works for one person may not work for another”.
“NAPTIP is a very unique agency, we don’t just arrest traffickers and prosecute them, we also rescue victims and take them to our shelters, we have trained councillors and nurses in our shelters.
“The first thing we do is to give them psycho-social support; there is a protocol on sheltering and rehabilitation, we follow this protocol religiously,” she said.
The DG said that NAPTIP gave psycho-social and medical supports to victims in its shelters before giving vocational training.
“Vocational training to victims doesn’t come automatically, it depends on the situation and sometimes the choice of the victim.
“Some victims will tell you that they do not want to go to school, you can’t force them to do this, we do it according to individual needs,” she said.
Okah-Donli added that sometimes, traffickers went after rescued victims for fear of being exposed, adding, “this is one reason some of them need protection”.
“Some of the victims don’t even want to be united with their families; some families played roles in their trafficking, so reuniting with them will further endanger their lives,” she said.