A seminar on human trafficking prosecution has sought a review of the nation’s extant legislation in order to make the establishment of facts against perpetrators of the evil trade easier.
At the one-day workshop organised by the Conference of Western Attorneys-General (CWAG) in conjunction with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) yesterday in Calabar, Cross River State, with the theme, “Human Trafficking and Prosecution and Victims’ Fund and Protection”, the experts and participants concurred on ridding the society of the menace.
One of the facilitators and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Anthony Idibe, noted: “Clearly we can do much more, not just in terms of prosecution but in terms of awareness. From the workshop, you can see from the case study how difficult it is to even prove a case and the amount of resources required to prove a case given all the challenges we have identified here.”
He added: “There are challenges and if you look at our law which they tried to amend in 2007, it focuses too much on pure human trafficking offences which iare very difficult to prove. So we need to amend our law like the one they have in Utah, United States to create lower level offences.”
NAPTIP’s Chief Legal Officer, Ijeoma Amugo, noted that her agency had secured 316 convictions and forfeited their assets to the Victims Trust Fund. She added that the fund “is being managed by a committee headed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.”
Amugo said 145 cases were pending owing to insufficient funds, among other challenges.
The state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Joe Abang, regretted that the host city was being used as transit point for the illicit trade.
A board member of CWAG, African Alliance Partnership, Mr. Markus Green, observed: “The whole issue is about the victim. The justice system serves to protect the victim.