Devatop in Nigeria – Together we can combat human trafficking.

by Milena Rampoldi and Denise Nanni, ProMosaik.
In the following our interview with Joseph Osuigwe Chidiebere, the executive
director of Devatop
Centre for Africa Development
, struggling against human trafficking
in Nigeria. ProMosaik has already talked to organisations engaged to struggle
against human trafficking in Serbia, Ghana, and Switzerland. We think that it is essential
to compare approaches, and strategies from all over the world, all united
against this hard issue.  We would like to
thank Joseph for his detailed answers. What is essential is the fact that victims
of human trafficking are not perpetuators, and need our urgent support to
include them in society. Human trafficking is a phenomenon we have to oppose to
as society, everywhere in the world.

What is the
current situation related to human trafficking in Nigeria and what strategies
do you implement to address this issue?
Nigeria is among the countries that have the
highest number of human trafficking victims. 
Millions of Nigerian young women, girls,
boys, youth  and children are at risk of
human trafficking due to
illiteracy, ignorance, greed, lack of
opportunity, inequality, gender-induced cultural bias, persistent unemployment,
poverty, large family size; family crisis; community crisis; high demand for
cheap labour; desire for youth emancipation; inadequate political commitment;
porous borders, lack of strong political will; lack of access to education,
sex-selective migration policies, disruption of supportive system, traditional
community attitude, manipulation of religious rituals, lost of parents, human
deprivation,  insurgency, and other
Trafficked Nigerian women and children are
recruited from rural areas within the country’s borders − women and girls for
involuntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, and boys for forced
labor, bonded labour in street vending, domestic servitude, mining, and
Unfortunately, there is no ingenious statistics
or data on how many Nigerians that have been trafficked over time, but 2016
Global Slavery Index Report shows that there are  over 875 500 Nigerian victims. On a personally
standpoint, the statistics is low, and there is need for government and
independent bodies to work towards gathering data on this crime.
My organization has been consistent in combating
human trafficking in Nigeria through awareness, training, identifying and
referring victims for assistance. However, we realized that there is so much
work to do in eradicating this monstrous crime, but few people are doing the
work. We also recognized that young people made up of 80% to 90% of the
trafficked victims. Hence, our major focuses are: Equipping and empowering
young people as advocates to take strategic actions against human trafficking
in their communities. We mentor young people through volunteerism to take
social actions and do advocacy. We have trained over 5000 young people on how
to combat human trafficking; and have over 150 volunteers in different states.
are your activities related to human trafficking prevention?

We organize anti-human trafficking advocacy
training at least twice every year during which we empower young people to do
step down projects in their communities.
We also provide educational supports to
vulnerable children and girls. In 2016, we partnered with United Nations
Children Fund to provide over 4000 educational materials and services to 400
internally displaced children in Abuja.  
Also, between 2015 and 2016, we carried out a
pilot project on The Academy for Prevention of Human Trafficking and Other
Related Matters (TAPHOM) which focuses on training, advocacy, research, media,
and referral. During this project, we selected and trained 120 young people
from 6 states, and within 9 months, 95% of them impacted 6, 000 people in
various communities and identified 3 victims. One of the victims was a 17 year
old girl who was abducted from Abuja to Kano for forced marriage, and we were
able to rescue her through the help of National Agency for Prohibition of
Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Also, through a joint effort with our trained
advocates, we were able to educate 300, 000 citizens through media and
community awareness.  We are currently
working on raising sixty thousand dollars ($60, 000) to establish the TAPHOM
this year.
I can confidently say that Devatop Centre for
Africa Development is a leading youth-based anti-human trafficking organization
in Nigeria which is equipping and empowering young people to lead  social action against this modern slavery.
In the next few weeks, we will start school club,
known as: Young People Against Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters
(YATIP Club).
you carry on any awareness raising activity about this issue?

Yes, we do. We have used television, radio and
community sensitization to educate over 300, 000 citizens on their roles in
combating human trafficking.  Our
volunteers are carrying out awareness activities in various parts of Nigeria.
Just last month, January, during the National Human Trafficking Awareness
Month, one of our volunteers, Esther Bature, lead a team of  youth to educate 2000 secondary school
students on how they can take actions against human trafficking.  Within the next 3 months, other volunteers
are expected to impact 4000 people.
you develop, throughout time, a strategy that can be indicated as really effective
to address the social inclusion of human trafficking’s victims?

What we do is to advocate for social inclusion of
human trafficking victims.  In 2016, we
engaged survivors of human trafficking to share their stories to the public in
We-Fm radio station in Abuja.  
But we are working closely with other
organizations that have shelters for victims of human trafficking.
Do you
cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
Yes, we always collaborate with National Agency
for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) to train young people and in other major anti-human
trafficking events. They often provide us with technical supports and
For more than three years, our organization has
worked with NAPTIP both in training, media campaign, and rescuing victims of
human trafficking.
You know, the fight against human trafficking
requires consistent collaboration/cooperation between government and
non-governmental organizations.
Together we can combat human trafficking.