The Edo Task Force Against Human Trafficking says it has received about 5,619 returnees from Libya enroute Europe from 2017 till date.
Prof. Yinka Omoregbe, Chairman of the Taskforce and Commissioner of Justice in the state, disclosed this on Tuesday during a virtual conference on human trafficking.
The conference was organised by INSIgnt Action and funded by the European Union was tagged: “Transnational Approaches to Fight Human Trafficking from Nigeria: Research, Practices and Policies.
Omoregbe said irregular migration from the state was on the decrease due to proactive steps taken by the taskforce.
“We believe that our activities such as advocacy, sensitisation, rehabilitation, investigation and prosecution have helped to reduce irregular migration,” she said..
Omoregbe said the taskforce had trained about 600 returnees and recently built a shelter with a clinic, training centre and residence for returnees.
Omoregbe, however, said that the taskforce needed more cooperation, noting that funding and under staffing were major challenges.
Also speaking, Hajara Haruna Yusuf, Nigerian Liaison Magistrate, Italy, said removal of the disconnection that existed among countries in the fight against human trafficking had led to reduction in irregular migration from Nigeria.
Yusuf ,who is also an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, said: “We now have better synergy between Nigerian officers and Italian officers in the fight against human trafficking.
“We are experiencing high rise in the prosecution of traffickers in the country this is because the bottlenecks have been removed.
“We also have improved collaborations among ministries, departments, agencies and organisations working on human trafficking”.
Meanwhile, Evon Benson-Idahosa, the Executive Director, Pathfinder Justice Initiative, identified legal, political and practical challenges as limitations to improving transnational cooperation in the fight against human trafficking.
Benson-Idahosa called for a more collaborative approach to sustain the reduction of irregular migration from Nigeria to Europe as well as to discourage potential victims from being trafficked.