Following her determination to explore all avenues at checkmating the cankerworm of trafficking in persons and illegal migration, the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli has called on tour operators, travel agents and airline operators, as stakeholders to partner the agency in curbing the human trafficking menace.
Making the call in a statement in Abuja, the NAPTIP DG referred to Section 35 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administrative (TIPPEA) Act 2015, and said it was the responsibility of tour agents, among others, to sensitize their clients and staff against aiding and abetting human trafficking activities.
Okah-Donli noted that it was the responsibility of the stakeholders to ensure that travellers whom they issued tickets to, or arranged tours for, were not exploited at their places of destination, among others.
Describing tour operators, travel agents, among others, as representing gateways in and out of country, Okah-Donli emphasized that they played a unique role in protecting would-be victims of human trafficking and identifying traffickers who travelled with them.
The DG further stated that penalties for aiding and abetting human traffickers intentionally or unintentionally upon conviction was a jail term and a fine of not less than N10 million.
She warned against a situation where tour operators and travel agents sat by passively while human trafficking is promoted through their means of livelihood.
She, therefore, urged operators to “recognize signs of trafficking and possible exploitation and to report such cases to NAPTIP.
Her words, “Tour operators and travel agents represent the gateways in and out of the country; they play a unique role in protecting would-be victims of human trafficking and identifying traffickers who travel with them.
“I therefore encourage them to partner with government agencies, especially those who are front line responders, such as NAPTIP, as well as non-profit organizations to stop human trafficking and to help survivors to rebuild their lives.
“It is not the intention of NAPTIP to shut their operations or have them arrested but rather to educate them on what the law says and get them on board as the agency’s partner in progress.
“This is to ensure that travellers who enlist their services either as tour operators or travel agents do not end up as victims of human trafficking at their destination countries.”
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