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Punish participants in $150b yearly trafficking criminal enterprise, says IOM boss

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The Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Nigeria, Franz Celestin, has said that participants in the $150 billion yearly criminal enterprise of human trafficking should not go unpunished.

Celestin said this yesterday at the launch of the Blue Bus Project aimed at creating awareness against human trafficking in rural communities in Lagos, Edo and Delta state, thanking the Switzerland Government for the support to make the project a reality.

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“Let us not forget that trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants are serious crimes. As such, should not go unpunished. However, impunity is such that it is more profitable for criminals to traffic human beings than small arms. This $150 billion yearly criminal enterprise presents “high profit – low risk” for the traffickers. Scaling up efforts in the criminal justice response, including international co-operation, is of utmost importance to increase the number of investigations, prosecutions, and, eventually, convictions.

“Sufficient, reliable data on trends and patterns of trafficking and smuggling are key elements in developing evidence-based responses. While IOM, other UN agencies, and civil society organisations have been providing support to the government of Nigeria in collecting and analysing data, we need to redouble our efforts to stay two steps ahead of the criminals,” the IOM boss stated.

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ALSO, Migration Adviser, Swiss Embassy, Manuel Muhlebach, stated that human trafficking remains a low-risk and high-profit crime, which affects the lives of migrants in often the most negative ways while raising awareness is crucial to prevent more people from falling prey to human traffickers.

“It is also clear that a holistic approach is needed to tackle this complex challenge in all its forms. This is why Switzerland is also supporting the efforts of NAPTIP to develop and implement a new national action plan against human trafficking. This new plan is currently being finalised together with all relevant stakeholders from the government and civil society. After its completion and adoption, it will guide the interventions and co-operation of national actors at all levels for the next five years,” he said.

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