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US Mission Donates Office To Lagos Agency In Fight Against Human Trafficking

“It serves as a beacon of hope for victims and a symbol of our collective determination to eradicate this heinous crime.”

As part of efforts to counter trafficking in human beings in the country, the United States Mission in Nigeria has donated office and equipment to the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency (LNSA).

Handing over the complex on Thursday, US Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Will Stevens said that the initiative represents a significant step forward the collective efforts to combat one of the most egregious violations of human rights – human trafficking.

The Consul General applauded the Lagos state government, specifically the anti-trafficking unit of LNSA for its commitment to creating a safe and secure environment for its citizens, even as he thanked the Kingdom of Netherlands for its unwavering commitment to the cause.

Stevens also commended the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), for its expertise, dedication, and tireless efforts.

Stevens stressed that the fight against human trafficking demands a coordinated approach, and the establishment of the office was a critical milestone in strengthening Nigeria’s criminal justice response to trafficking in persons and demonstrates the importance of local authorities in this effort.

“It serves as a beacon of hope for victims and a symbol of our collective determination to eradicate this heinous crime. Between 2021 and 2023, the US government through the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs provided $1.3 million to UNODC to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to protect those vulnerable to trafficking.

“By consolidating our resources and expertise, we aim to create a robust framework that will not only address the needs of current victims, but also work towards prevention of future trafficking. The US government understands the importance of a comprehensive response to human trafficking.

“That is why in addition to projects like this, which build the physical infrastructure, we have invested in the training of first responders as well as the reintegration of victims of trafficking,” he stated.

In 2023, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Stevens said the government trained 160 civilian law enforcement officers to respond to cases of human trafficking and counselled more than 100 civil society organisations on how to identify and refer potential victims of trafficking.

“Through our Academy for Women Entrepreneurs programme,  20 victims of trafficking and other returned migrants received specialised business management training and mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs, giving them the needed economic and social support to reintegrate into their communities.  As we celebrate the opening of this office, let us also renew our commitment to collaboration, information sharing, and continuous improvement.

“The 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report from the US State Department underscores the evolving tactics employed by traffickers in Nigeria, such as cyber scam operations involving deceptive job postings and fraudulent dating websites to entice unsuspecting victims,” he added.

Segun James

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