The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Thursday inaugurated a 27-bed capacity rehabilitation centre built by the UK Government for victims of human trafficking in Edo.
The Director-General of the agency, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, performed the ceremony in Benin, along with an official of the UK Home Office International Operations (HOIO), Lagos.
In a speech at the event, Waziri-Azi said the project was a product of effective collaboration between the UK and Nigerian Governments in the fight against human trafficking.
She also said that the project was executed by the UK Government through the Modern Slavery Nigeria Programme, UK Home Office.
According to her, the shelter would greatly assist in the rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in the state.
She said that the agency’s partnership with the UK Government over the years centred on investing in projects and activities that directly affect the victims of human trafficking.
“The key things rescued victims require are psyco-social and medial support, legal assistance and shelter.
“If victims that are repatriated or rescued do not have humane place for rehabilitation, we are already setting them up to be exploited over and over again”.
“So, we are grateful to the UK Government for the new shelter for rehabilitation of victims and support to NAPTIP in the area of feeding of the victims and suspects.
“So, this collaboration is really key for victims because we do not want a situation where victims are rescued back to Nigeria and the situation is worse off,” Waziri-Azi said.
She gave assurance that the shelter would be adequately maintained by the agency for the benefit of the victims.
In a remark, Mr Dean Goddard, the representative of UK HOIO, Lagos, said “the shelter symbolises the commitment of the UK Government to the partnership with NAPTIP in the fight against trafficking in persons”.
Goddard gave assurance that the UK Government would continue to assist in safeguarding and rehabilitating victims of human trafficking.