31 January 2019
Posteado en : Opinion
Rafael Ríos, head of the project "A-TIPSOM: fighting against human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria", highlights the current situation for human trafficking and people smuggling and how FIIAPP is working to end this new form of 21st century slavery
Human trafficking and smuggling, according to different reports, ranks third in the world’s most lucrative businesses, after trafficking in drugs and weapons. This business is global and therefore the only way to address it effectively is through the coordination of multidisciplinary agents on the three levels of action: local, regional and international. Human smuggling and trafficking are intrinsically connected since smuggling refers to illegally moving people from one country to another for economic or material benefit, while trafficking refers to the crime committed when a person is captured, transported, transferred and received for exploitation.
Millions of people are not only caught by deceit and false promises in their countries of origin, but they also risk their lives to reach a destination where labour or sexual exploitation awaits them. To all this must be added the large sums of money they pay, without any guarantees, to the mafias who are experts in organised crime and who profit from their suffering.
The report on the global index for slavery, victims of smuggling and trafficking calculates that, as of July 2018, there were 40.3 million victims of trafficking in the world, of which 71% are women and 25% are under 18 years of age. The victims of human smuggling are men and women, but the predominant profile of the victims of trafficking are most definitely women and the cause of exploitation is mostly sexual.
Today, Nigeria is one of the most important source countries for human trafficking and smuggling in the world. Thousands of women and children from West Africa are recruited for trafficking before being taken to Nigeria and then smuggled out of the country, mainly to Europe, and treated as chattel. Specifically, this illegal activity is centralised in the State of Edo, a 2016 UNODC report, estimates that 94% of the women of Nigerian origin trafficked in Europe came from this state.
We cannot ignore the large number of internally displaced people there currently are in Nigeria due to the internal Boko Haram war. Undoubtedly, this elevated number of men and women expelled from their homes provides ideal conditions for the traffickers.
Therefore, the causes behind this business are extremely complex because they are associated with structural factors that are difficult to mitigate, such as poverty and war. For this reason, FIIAPP, along with the ATIPSOM project, is following the strategy adopted not only by the European Union but also by the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), which is based on: preventing trafficking through information and awareness to prevent thousands of women being caught by deception; protecting victims of trafficking and smuggling who have returned to Nigeria, and; pursuing the traffickers and smugglers with the ultimate goal of prosecuting them based on current legislation penalising these kinds of actions. In relation to this last point, FIIAPP can count on the experience of the Spanish National Police in investigation and coordination, which is essential to improving the results concerning the identification, pursuit and prosecution of the hundreds of criminals trafficking and smuggling people between the different Nigerian states.
The following actions cut across these three pillars: strengthening the coordination between government agencies and the collection of the quantitative and qualitative data needed to improve the design of actions and public policies; strengthening the coordination between the authorities in the different countries, not only in Nigeria, but also in the transit countries: Nigeria, Algeria and Libya, and strengthening the coordination between authorities and civil society by creating spaces for the exchange of information, experiences and actions.
All the actions follow a gender approach since, as indicated, trafficking is mainly a business based on the dehumanisation of women as a sexual instrument.
This project undoubtedly complements the Nigerian government’s strategy, not only so that the actions are viable and sustainable, but also so that coordination and cooperation between all the countries involved might form the structural pillars for long-term participation to reduce the number of women and men who are victims of this new form of slavery in the 21st century.
22 November 2018
Posteado en : Reportage
FIIAPP addresses human trafficking as a global problem: many countries are affected by being the place of origin, transit or destination of victims.
There are many people who fall into the hands of organisations that exploit them, sexually or professionally, taking their freedom against their will. Human trafficking has become the form of slavery of the 21st century.
It is important to know what we mean by human trafficking, whose world day is celebrated on July 30. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, defines it as “the transfer of human beings from one place to another within the borders of the same country or abroad for the purpose of sexual exploitation, work or begging”.
To give an idea of the scale of this crime, the United Nations points out that there are around 21 million victims, 30 percent of them children and 70 percent women and girls. In addition, all these victims come from 137 countries, a fact that reflects the scale of this problem.
“Capture, trafficking and exploitation”
For there to be trafficking, “there need to be three phases: capture, trafficking and exploitation“, says Félix Durán, head of the Human Trafficking group of the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard and expert of the project in the fight against drug trafficking in Bolivia, financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP.
Based on this, certain people are captured for exploitation, whether for labour, sexual, begging or organ trafficking purposes, among others; and this deception is used to take those people to other countries. “For there to be human trafficking, there must be transport and then exploitation,” says Félix Durán. The exploitation phase is the difference between human smuggling and human trafficking.
In addition, Felix Durán tells us that most of the cases of trafficking that occur in Spain are from people who come from southern Africa (especially from Nigeria), Eastern Europe (Bulgaria and Romania) and China. The profile of the victims is that of girls, especially from Nigeria, as well as elderly people in the case of Romania.
On the other hand, there is great difficulty in demonstrating an offence of human trafficking, especially if it is sexual. In order to be able to justify the crime judicially and be able to arrest the people involved, it is especially important to prove< the three phases mentioned, which in many cases is very difficult.
The case of Bolivia
In the Bolivian project, already mentioned, work is being carried out in the fight against human trafficking, since this problem is a crime related to drug trafficking, the main theme of the project. The project focuses mainly on the “3 Ps”: perception, persecution and protection.
There is a lot of trafficking in this country, so much so that Bolivia has been included “in the black list of countries that do not work against trafficking”, according to Félix Durán, an expert on this project.
Furthermore, a programme has been created in which training is provided to public officials who are closely related to this problem, working with both the national and municipal administrations.
In this regard, he emphasises the importance of cooperation projects in this area, in which “public officials who work on this struggle must be made aware” of the obligation to “provide training so that they know how to identify a case of human trafficking” and finally, as trafficking is a criminal offence, the need for international cooperation between institutions, according to Durán.
Nigeria, a place where human trafficking occurs
In the case of Nigerian women in Europe, 95% of them come from Benin City, an area of around 10 million inhabitants belonging to Edo State.
The majority of these girls are captured within a family environment in which their parents make them available to trafficking organisations. Such is the number of victims in this country that there are mediators from Benin City itself, many of them former victims of trafficking, who facilitate the work of the authorities in communicating with them.
In this country, the A-TIPSOM project, financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, seeks to reduce human trafficking and irregular migrant trafficking, both nationally and regionally and between Nigeria and the EU. It also pursues five fundamental objectives, the “5 Ps”: policy or strengthening of institutions and the legal framework, prevention with awareness and training activities, protection of victims, prosecution of smugglers and traffickers and partnership or coordination of the actors involved.
According to Rafael Río Molina, coordinator of this project, the situation in Nigeria right now is complex, since “the country is a strong point of migration and transit” due to the fact that it is in the centre of the African continent. In addition, “the number of women and children who are victims and who fall into the network of prostitution and labour exploitation, according to statistics, is higher than that of men”, which is why they focus more on these groups.
The enormous number of cases of human trafficking currently in existence means that this problem must be addressed from a transnational dimension, through cooperation between countries and regions.