The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has expressed concern over the use of technology to increase activity of human trafficking in Nigeria.
The IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission, Prestage Murima, expressed the concern in a message to mark the 2022 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (WDATIP).
Murima in a statement by IOM’s Senior Communications Assistant, Mrs Mariam Owoeye, said the theme for this year’s celebrations was “Prevent, Protect and Prosecute to Highlight the Need for Action and The Importance of Having an Integrated Approach in Addressing Trafficking”.
According to her, “the increasing use of technology has enabled human trafficking, with numerous tricks deployed and with greater speed, accuracy and anonymity to recruit, exploit and control victims.
“They also organise their transport and accommodation, advertise victims and reach out to potential clients, communicate among perpetrators and hide criminal proceeds.
“Traffickers use social media to identify, groom and recruit victims, including children.
“E-mails and messaging services are used for the moral coercion of the victims and online platforms allow traffickers to widely advertise services provided by victims”.
She said since technology was a tool that could both enable and impede human trafficking, “IOM interprets this theme in terms of how technology can be harnessed as a preventive tool and for facilitating protection”.
She explained that it will take a comprehensive approach to address trafficking in persons, hence the organisation’s decision to join the United Nations System to raise awareness under the global theme: “Use and Abuse of Technology”.
According to Murima, persons seeking better economic opportunities, asylum seekers and refugees fleeing crisis are vulnerable to the risk of trafficking with traffickers profiting from the desperation and separation of people, particularly women and children, from support systems and family members.
“However, in the use of technology also lies great opportunity. Future success in eradicating human trafficking will depend on how law enforcement, the criminal justice systems and protection actors can leverage technology in their responses, by aiding investigations to shed light on the modus operandi of trafficking networks, enhancing prosecutions through digital evidence to alleviate the situation of victims in criminal proceedings, and providing support services to survivors”, she said.
She continued that on this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, that people should have a heart for the victims of human trafficking and join the campaign against human trafficking.
Murima also noted that advocating for rights and protecting the physical, mental and social well-being of individuals and their communities, and promoting sustainability through institutional capacity development and partnerships were at the centre of the organisation’s counter-trafficking efforts.
“This theme is at the centre of the institutional approach in combating trafficking and protecting the rights of migrants, through the ‘Theory of Change”, she said.
According to her, Nigeria is an important locus as a source, transit and destination country in the trafficking process.
Murima, however, revealed that IOM operates from the outset that trafficking in persons needs to be approached within the overall context of managing migration for the benefit of all with interventions centered on the needs of the victims.
“Since 2017, IOM Nigeria has coordinated the return of over 27,000 Nigerian migrants from 82 countries.Out of this number, 3,599 are victims of trafficking, while 1,726 victims of trafficking had received in-kind support to start businesses of their choice”, she added.
The WDATIP is a day set aside to raise awareness on the plight of victims of human trafficking and to promote and protect their rights.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is a crime and grave human rights violation of enormous scale, which is prevalent in situations of vulnerability.
UK Govt Builds Sustainable, Inclusive Digital Access
The United Kingdom government via the Foreign Commonwealth Development OrganIsation (FCDO), and the Policy Innovation Centre (PIC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, are driving the digital access project implementation in Nigeria.
PIC and its UK partner held a workshop that brought together stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive digital transformation in Nigeria, in Abuja recently.
The Tide’s source reports that in 2019, the Federal Government launched the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Strategy to drive the implementation of the digital economy.
The Deputy Director at the centre, Dr. Osasuyo Dirisu, in an interview with the press, on the sideline of the event recently, said their intention was to drive inclusive and sustainable digital transformation in Nigeria.
Dirisu, represented by the PIC’s Senior Policy Specialist, MR. Mayokun Adeiran, said the gap in digital divide was overwhelming.
According to him, to achieve digital transformation in Nigeria by 2030, public and private stakeholders must come together.
“Government cannot do it alone, there has to be this collaboration because the sector that drives the economy is the private sector,” he said.
Chris Abhulimen, Government Sector Specialist for the PIC and FCDO project in Nigeria said in the majority of civilised climes, it is the private sector that takes the lead in creating innovation and projects that drive the digital economy.
“Nigeria not wanting to be left out, this project now seeks to strengthen the capacity of the stakeholders in the digital economy to be able to drive the implementation plan of 2020 to 2030.
“The FCDO and PIC will build sustainability in the digital economy by empowering the private sector ecosystem and stakeholders.
“This allows them to be able to take the initiative to aid and engage the government through favourable policies.
“These policies will unlock opportunities out of the digital economy and also create opportunities for Nigerian Start-Ups to be able to thrive and create innovation that would create more opportunities,’’ he said.
He emphasised that the private sector needed to take ownership of the project as the government alone cannot digitally transform the society.
According to Abhulimen, the true measure of success in a digital economy would be that the government would be fully digitally transformed which would facilitate numerous services offered by the government.
He explained that Nigerians would also be able to participate in a digital economy by leveraging on digital policies and services launched by the government for consumption of various products and services.
“The true measure of a digital economy is in the companies that are unicorns, which have been created out of these opportunities.
“When I mentioned unicorn, which means a billion dollar company and currently Nigeria is not doing so bad, imagine the country having five unicorns, five billion dollar companies already without effort from the government.
“Imagine what would happen if the public and private sector come together and create the enabling environment for innovation to thrive,’’ he said.
Oswald Osaretin, Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital Transformation and the Nigerian Start-Up Bill (NSB)Lead, said the bill was waiting for the president’s assent.
Represented by Tracy Okoro, the NSB State ADOPTION Lead, Osaretin said, “the Start-Up Bill is a set of regulations and legislations that have been put together to create an enabling environment and a thriving economy for tech enabled companies.
“This is because the president decided that young people are the largest assets of the economy and it is important to harness these potentials and use them to develop the country,’’ he said.
NOTAP Establishes 62 Technology Transfer Offices
The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) said it has established 62 Intellectual Property Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in selected Universities, Polytechnics and Research Institutions in Nigeria.
The Director-General (DG) of the agency, Dr. Dan Azumi Ibrahim, who stated this recently in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said one of the missions of NOTAP is to promote qualitative original research through sensitization and foster strong collaboration between university and industry through the establishment of IPTTO.
According to him, the establishment of IPTTOs is aimed at providing patents’ registration, promoting robust patent policy, driving commercialization of products of patents and innovations for sound economic rewards.
“Establishing IPTTO’s is to promote interaction and linkage between universities, research institutions and industries.
“The IPTTO is designed to develop a robust intellectual Property Rights portfolio through patenting, copyright, technology licensing; to support the Institutions’ initiative in developing patent culture.
“It will facilitate the utilization of the Intellectual Property (IP) system in Tertiary Institutions and also serve as a source of technology information and a source of generating wealth and income,’’ Ibrahim said.
He added that 65 percent of patent certificates released by the Patents’ Registry in recent times came through NOTAP’s intervention in assisting researchers’ file and patent their inventions and innovations free of charge.
“NOTAP was established 30 years ago to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the country and motivate indigenous technology development.
“We have developed several programmes and projects to ensure technological growth in Nigeria among which was the establishment of IPTTOs to also boost emergence of patents from Nigerian researchers.
“NOTAP is also upgrading research laboratories facilities of knowledge institutions with the support of Industry,’ Ibrahim said.
Consultant Gives Reason For Cyber Conference
A Digital Transformation and Block Chain Consultant, Mr Jude Ozinegbe, has said part of the aims of the 2022 National Cyberchain conference is to share ideas and knowledge in the tech space.
Ozinegbe, who disclosed this in a statement, Sunday, in Abuja, said the fourth National Cyberchain Conference and National Tour 2022 is scheduled to hold in Abuja this month.
The conference with the theme: “Embracing The Metaverse Economy”, according to him, will bring together people with interest in the tech space.
“Cyberchain converges some of the best minds in the tech space annually and connects them with enthusiasts that are eager for the knowledge shared by these experts.
“Blockchain developers, founders and investors have also found Cyberchain events perfect fits to engage and foster viable business relationships.
“As technology continues to foster the growth of businesses across the globe, it has become imperative for Nigeria to be positioned as a contributor to the fast growing digital economy”, he said.
Cyberchain, he explained, was born out of the need to ensure Nigerians get proper sensitisation about the numerous benefits of the digital economy.
“They include creating more jobs for Nigerians, ease of doing business, transparent governance, safe online presence.
“Others are placing Nigeria on the global map by creating world class projects that contribute to the nation’s GDP,” he said.
He stated that the national conference and tour commenced in Akure, Ondo State in March, while it was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom Statein May, and July in Benin, Edo State.
Ozinegbe said the grand finale of the national tour will hold in Lagos on November 12, adding that industry leaders, such as Chris Ani of DabaTV, Tony Emeka of CryptoTV Plus, Chuta Chimezie of BNUG, and Kristian Kruz of Element USA, were expected to feature on it.
“Winners will take home over N1,000,000 and other gifts for their performances at the ethical hacking competition, supervised by Digital Encode Limited.
“Speakers lined up for the conference include Mr Mohammed Jega, Founder at Domineum Blockchain; Mr Adedeji Owonibi, Founder at Convexity and A&D Forensics; and Mr William Phelps, Investment Manager at Adaverse”, he said.
The organisers also plans to wrap up this year’s event with the biggest Blockchain boat cruise in November.
“Celebrities, founders, investors and top leaders in the Blockchain space will have ample time to network, dine and wine, while enjoying the lush and ambient view of the Ikoyi/Lekki waters,” he said.
Ozinegbe used the opportunity to thank brands such as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Information Technology Development Agency, for their support to Cyberchain.
Cyberchain is a decentralised, brand-neutral and people-focused ecosystem that promotes the need for ethical use of cybersecurity and blockchain technology.
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