A high-level Nigerian delegation visits Spain to exchange knowledge with law enforcement and justice institutions in charge of the fight against human trafficking and smuggling
Nigeria is the main country of origin of African women trafficked for sexual exploitation. A delegation of eight specialists will learn first-hand about measures for the prevention and investigation of human trafficking and human smuggling crimes within the national police and the State Prosecutor’s Office, as well as measures at airports and airlines. The experts include representatives of Nigerian institutions involved in the fight against trafficking (including NAPTIP, the Nigerian agency specialised in the fight against trafficking, the Nigerian Police, the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nigerian Immigration Service), as well as project experts (national police officer Federico Millan, and two Nigerian field technicians).
It is a key visit with a double objective: institutional and operational. “Operational because of the direct exchange of experiences between those who fight trafficking on the front line in Nigeria (country of origin) and Spain (country of destination). But also institutional because it is a way of bringing positions closer together and aligning efforts between both countries,” explains National Police Officer Federico Millán, director of this project implemented by the FIIAPP, the A-TIPSOM project, funded by the European Union to reduce human trafficking and irregular migrant smuggling in Nigeria, in the region and between Nigeria and the EU.
“This exchange between Nigerian and Spanish officials is a great opportunity for the two countries to strengthen their collaboration by identifying gaps in the flow of information on trafficking between their law enforcement and judicial authorities,” said Bityong Tabitha Bako, Deputy Commissioner of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Nigerian National Police.
The visit began at the General Commissariat of Foreigners and Borders, where they were received by its Secretary General and continued with a presentation of the police model for the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling at the Central Unit Against Immigration Networks and Documentary Falsifications (UCRIF). The Nigerian delegation learned about the work of the Central Brigade against Trafficking in Human Beings and its competencies in the investigation and fight against criminal networks and organisations dedicated to human trafficking, illegal immigration, labour exploitation and illicit trafficking of labour, trafficking in human beings, or exploitation in prostitution. They also learned about the work carried out by this unit in coordination with other judicial, fiscal, police and administrative authorities.
The visit continued at Madrid airport, where, in addition to police work, Ryanair’s protocols for communication with public security bodies and the training of airline staff in the detection of cases will be studied. “This is an example of the importance of public-private partnerships in tackling trafficking. This company trains its ground and flight personnel to detect possible cases of false documentation or documentation of another person and to detect situations of smuggling or trafficking, stressing how to act and coordinate with the authorities in these cases”.
Within the framework of the visit, the Prosecutor’s Office will receive the delegation and will explain the functions of the Trafficking Unit, and the mechanisms for collaboration with police units. The main needs in relation to cooperation with countries such as Nigeria and past success stories will also be presented.
“Trafficking networks are changing their strategies, relying more and more on cyberspace transactions and social networks. It is essential that law enforcement and justice institutions develop joint strategies in countries of origin, transit and destination. FIIAPP will facilitate this exchange of knowledge and experiences to jointly address this global challenge,” explains Gema Villegas, head of the Security, Peace, and Development team at FIIAPP.
The European A-TIPSOM project, managed by FIIAPP, can be summarised in five more specific objectives, the “5Ps“: Policy or strengthening of institutions and the legal framework, Prevention with awareness-raising and training activities, Protection of victims, Prosecution of traffickers and traffickers, and Partnership or coordination of the actors involved. For four years, Spanish experts from the National Police will work on the project.