The National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has brought to attention the shift in human trafficking from physical to virtual recruitment and negotiations with victims.
Speaking during the world press conference by NAPTIP in Abuja yesterday to commemorate 2022’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Director General, NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi said technology has come as a great advancement and a major upgrade in the way of life of people. However, it has generated so much concern because human traffickers are also utilising this digital transformation.
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According to her: “At NAPTIP, we have seen an increase in fake job advertorials and fake scholarships via social media as Traffickers used to recruit and catfish unsuspecting victims. Traffickers also use technology to control their victims. For instance, besides oath taking they make nude videos of their victims and threaten to share the explicit images online.”
“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is the reinforcement of the need for digital channels of communication which has led to a massive digital transformation.”
Recounting recent methods used by traffickers to entice victims for the purposes of organ harvesting, sexual exploitation and forced labour, Director General, NAPTIP, Dr Fatima noted that there has been a surge in the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and others, for the recruitment of victims of trafficking.
“The internet provides easy access to a larger pool of potential victims because geographical limitations no longer exist thereby increasing the ease with which traffickers can locate and recruit their victims.
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The United Nations, (UN), has chosen the theme ‘Use and Abuse of Technology, for this year. The theme is timely and couldn’t have come at a better time considering the fact that human traffickers now operate online as much as they operate offline.” She added.
The DG further disclosed that the agency has taken a step to partner with stakeholders including the International Organization for Migration, (IOM), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public policies (FIIAPP) and Meta, owners of Facebook and Instagram as well as the International Police, (INTERPOL), among others, to curb the evolving trend.