The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP' has concluded a collaboration with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to enhance tracing and diligent investigation of all cases of human trafficking that is aided by cyber technology in Nigeria.
NCMEC is a US-based nonprofit helping find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimisation. NCMEC uses Cybertipline, a centralised reporting mechanism that provides an online platform for the public and electronic service providers to report suspected child sexual exploitation incidents.
NAPTIP's Director-General, Dr Fatima Waziri–Azi, said the collaboration is part of the agency's 2022 counter-trafficking strategic approach to prevent and rescue victims of human trafficking in Nigeria - both online and offline.
The Director-General said the collaboration would address the new waves of cyber trafficking, especially caused by the resultant effect of globalisation and increased virtual business presence in the Covid-19 era.
"It is a known fact that human trafficking has continued to evolve in line with globalisation, especially with technology, traffickers have kept pace with technology by using the World Wide Web for their operations," she said.
"Investigation revealed that apart from millions of vulnerable and unaccompanied children that are being trafficked across the West Africa corridors and migration routes, many victims are held and blackmailed by traffickers in various destinations with the use of technology to shield their identities and also ensure firm and effective control measures on their victims."
She said working with the NCMEC, tracking, tracing, and rescuing of missing children would be enhanced, as the agency would "have unrestricted access to millions of information around the world that would help tackle online recruitment, trafficking, and exploitation of victims."
She said NCMEC's partnership with the agency is hoped to assist with "real-time information on child sex trafficking, sex tourism involving children, child sexual molestation by non-family members and online enticement of children for sexual acts, among others."
She warns that "Hard time awaits human traffickers and other organised criminal gangs operating with the aid of cyber-technology", adding that the agency is determined to fight cyber traffickers with technology.
She called for the cooperation of stakeholders, primarily by volunteering helpful information.