Nigeria: NAPTIP Commissions 27-Bed Shelter for Trafficking Victims

The National Agency for the Prohibition in Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has commissioned a 27- bed shelter home for the rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in the state.

The shelter, built by the UK government through the Modern Slavery for Nigeria Programme, UK Home Office, is to assist Nigeria in the rehabilitation of repatriated and rescued victims.

Daily Trust learnt that the existing shelter was demolished by the UK government to build a new 27-bed home and offices in Edo for proper rehabilitation of victims.

The twin buildings located in the GRA consist of three big dormitories, living rooms, kitchen, toilets, store, clinic and operational office with facilities including borehole and generator.

The facility also has a skill acquisition centre where rescued victims can learn various trades.

Commissioning the home, the Director General of NATIP, Dr. Fatimah Wazir-Azi, said the agency's partnership with the UK government is usually people-centred by investing in projects and activities that directly affect the repatriated and rescued victims.

She said: "The shelter was well built and has the capacity of taking 27 people, and when stretched it can take 35 people. The shelter that was here before was demolished and a new one built with all the facilities put in place.

"The contractor did an excellent job; the UK government did well and we look forward to accommodating the victims well because the most important thing is having a good place for victims.

"When somebody is found in an exploitative situation, the first step is to remove that person from that situation but when you don't have a humane place to keep them for rehabilitation, you are already setting them up to be exploited again."

She said the key things rescued victims require are psycho-social and medical support, legal assistance and shelter.

"It is important for us to maintain the shelter because it is easy to complete a project but it is a challenge maintaining it. People put in funding to build this project so it is our responsibility to build on the success through maintenance and monitoring.

"We have a very strict maintenance system in NAPTIP and that would apply to this shelter," she said.

Also speaking, the Representative of the UK Home Office International Operation Lagos, Dean Goddard, said the shelter symbolises the commitment of the United Kingdom government in partnership with NAPTIP in the fight against trafficking in persons.

He said: "The UK government will continue to assist in safeguarding and rehabilitating survivors and victims.

"On behalf of the British government, we sincerely hope that everybody that is required to come and seek refuge in the shelter gets safety."

Speaking on the project, representative of the contractor said the twin buildings were constructed under six weeks, from the demolition to the finishing stage.

"The buildings consist of six rooms with three big dormitory rooms and kitchen with all the facilities in place."

Stakeholders including civil society organisations and other partners said the shelter would aid in the rehabilitation of rescued victims.

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