The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has challenged tour operators, travel agents and airline operators about their responsibility in curbing human trafficking.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, made the call in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Referring to Section 35 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administrative (TIPPEA) Act 2015, the NAPTIP boss said it was the responsibility of tour agents, among others, to sensitise their clients and staff against aiding human trafficking activities.
She noted that it was their responsibility to ensure that travellers whom they issued tickets to, or arranged tours for, were not exploited at their places of destination, among others.
Describing tour operators, travel agents, among others, as representing gateways in and out of country, Okah-Donli emphasised that they played a unique role in protecting would-be victims of human trafficking and identifying traffickers who travelled with them.
The director general stated that penalties for aiding and abetting human traffickers intentionally or unintentionally upon conviction was a jail term and a fine of not less than than N10 million.
According to her, tour operators and travel agents cannot afford to passively sit by while human trafficking is promoted through their means of livelihood.
She, therefore, urged operators to “recognise signs of trafficking and possible exploitation and to report such cases to NAPTIP.
“This is because tour operators and travel agents represent the gateways in and out of the country; they play a unique role in protecting would-be victims of human trafficking and identifying traffickers who travel with them.
“I therefore encourage them to partner with government agencies, especially those who are front line responders, such as NAPTIP, as well as non-profit organisations to stop human trafficking and to help survivors to rebuild their lives.
“It is not the intention of NAPTIP to shut their operations or have them arrested but rather to educate them on what the law says and get them on board as the agency’s partner in progress.
“This is to ensure that travellers who enlist their services either as tour operators or travel agents do not end up as victims of human trafficking at their destination countries.”