The British Government on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to Nigeria’s effort towards effective and result-oriented war against human trafficking in the country.
British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, made the commitment while inaugurating a Joint Border Task Force (JBTF) Satellite office in Benin, Edo.
The office was provided by National Crime Agency (NCA) of UK to support National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in the offensive against human trafficking.
Thompson said that UK Government was collaborating with the Federal Government to fight human trafficking and modern slavery as both issues affected both countries.
She disclosed that great successes had been achieved in the effort through years of collaboration, especially with the recent conviction of a suspected Nigerian female human trafficker in the UK.
According to her, it is a good testament to the effort of the JBTF and the convict will be put behind bars for a good period of time.
The envoy said that more of such convictions were expected, adding that Britain would look at the request by the Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, to open a similar office in Kano State.
In her remarks, JBTF representative, Vanessa Fleming, said that much progress had been made by the body over the last two years in the war against human trafficking.
She commended the UK Government and Nigeria for the synergy between them and expressed hope that the satellite office would be exceptional in service delivery.
On her part, Okah-Donli said that the JBTF was officially inaugurated on Sept. 16, 2015, with 12 staff members and another eight selected in 2017.
She disclosed that presently the Agency had 10 cases before Federal and State High Courts in Oyo, Lagos and Edo, at different stages of trial of the suspected offenders.
The NAPTIP boss said that the agency had secured a conviction in one of the cases in Benin, adding that more convictions would be recorded soonest.
She commended the British envoy for equipping the courts in Benin and Lagos with video-link gadgets that would help to fast-track prosecution, and appealed that the gesture be extended to other courts in Nigeria.
She also solicited the opening of JBTF office in Kano, considering that it was a border town linking Nigeria and Republic of Niger.
According to Okah-Donli, traffickers have resorted to exploring the area as an alternative route to the airport to move innocent children out to Libya and other European countries.
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