By Olimatou Coker
Tulai Jawara-Ceesay, the executive director of National Agency Against Trafficking In Person, has said a positive encouragement for the country is that The Gambia was upgraded from Tier 3 to Tier 2 watch list in the 2020 US TIP report.
She said The Gambia remains in the same tier watchlist in 2021.
Madam Ceesay made these remarks on Tuesday during the validation of the draft memorandum of understanding between the National Agency for Prohibition Against Trafficking In Person Nigeria and NAATIP Gambia in the prevention and suppression of trafficking in person.
The objective of the MoU is to develop a common front to prevent, fight, suppress and punish trafficking in person especially women and children by sharing of intelligence and sensitization campaigns in both countries.
It also hopes to protect, rehabilitate and reintegrate victims of trafficking into their original environment.
“…Despite these gains, a lot remains to be done especially by the law enforcement officers to properly identify the problem and punish offenders.”
She added that as agencies charged with combatting this menace, criminals are becoming more organized around the world.
“We also need to redouble our efforts to counter their heinous acts and related ills. By doing so, this cross-border cooperation initiative between our 2 countries aimed at ensuring joint efforts in the fight against TIP is thus highly welcomed and timely.”
She said this will not only add value to their respective strategies to combat TIP but support regional and international efforts in the domain.
Jawara-Cessay said NAATIP is confronted with various challenges especially nothing that such crimes are linked to societal practices difficult to address.
Also speaking, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, the director general of NAPTIP Nigeria, said this is a process that has started way back in 2018 and there is recognition that the cooperation is long overdue.
“The need for international cooperation, collaboration and communication can never be overemphasized. The relationship between the NAPTIP Nigeria and the NAATIP Gambia is a relationship that has been here for decades”.
Dr. Waziri added that with Covid, traffickers have introduced a new trend by moving online. “So we find people who are being trafficked online. We have seen an increase in fake advisory in Nigeria and also fake jobs and fake scholarships,” Dr Waziri explained.