The A-TIPSOM Project has organised the tweetchat entitled “COVID19: It's Impact on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling”
A conversation has been held via Twitter (tweetchat) led by Julie Okah-Donli, director of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Blossom Ozurumba, Nigerien specialist in social media.
The starting point for this debate was trying to define how the pandemic will affect migrant smuggling since we are facing a crisis that not only involves health and the economy, but one that will also lead to an increase in the trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
During the event, it was argued that COVID is giving traffickers more opportunities to exploit their victims, especially women and children at risk, and, as a result, their vulnerability is increasing.
Due to the increase in poverty caused by the pandemic, the possibility that criminal organisations deceive more victims with false promises of work and and a brighter future will also rise.
In the tweetchat, possible ways to mitigate these risks were explored and the key role to be played by other parties was determined. These include the media, by informing and raising awareness about the vulnerability of migrants and the risks they face; communities, in their effective response to the impact of the coronavirus and their work on awareness and collaboration; Niger’s public bodies, in improving data management on trafficking and smuggling, as well as the interconnection between these databases. The tweetchat also discussed the relevance of the institutional strengthening that the European Union and FIIAPP are carrying out, through the A-TIPSOM project, with Nigerian public institutions and with civil society in developing the new National Plan against Trafficking. All these actors will play a crucial role in the new post-COVID stage that is coming.
More information on A-TIPSOM:
A-TIPSOM is a four-year cooperation project, funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, which aims to reduce human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Nigeria and between that African country and the European Union. Collaborators in the A-TIPSOM project include the Spanish National Police, the Nigerian police (NPF), NAPTIP, the Network of Civil Society Organisations Against Trafficking, Abuse and Child Labour (NACTAL) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). The main lines of action are: institutional and legal strengthening; prevention through awareness and training; victim protection; prosecution of smugglers and traffickers; and coordination of the actors involved.