New Training Aims to Strengthen Assistance and Protection to Vulnerable Migrants in Nigeria

Lagos – From 4-6 March, a team of experts from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) visited Nigeria to facilitate a training on Migrant Protection and Assistance.

The training was hosted at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos, gathering 38 representatives from government and civil society organizations (CSOs) with direct involvement in providing rehabilitation and reintegration support to vulnerable migrants.

The training titled ‘Strengthening Protection Assistance and Sustainable Reintegration for Vulnerable Nigerian Migrants’ was supported by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

It aimed at rolling out the updated IOM Handbook on Protection and Assistance for Migrants Vulnerable to Violence, Exploitation and Abuse. The revised handbook provides a practical, non-binding, voluntary guidance for States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society to protect and assist vulnerable migrants and to take actions to mitigate and reduce migrant vulnerability.

Over the last few years, IOM recognized that there are many non-trafficked migrants who experience violence, exploitation, and abuse, who are not protected under any existing protection regimes of existing international protocols,” said Komenda. “Recognizing this need, IOM broadened the scope of assistance and developed the Determinants of Migrant Vulnerability Framework and drafted a handbook to provide guidance to state and civil society providing assistance to vulnerable migrants. Nigeria is one of the first countries to have a training on this approach.”

As of 13 March, 7,245 men and 5,184 women (total 12,429) have been assisted to return to Nigeria from Libya, Niger, Mali and other countries under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative since its inception in April 2017.

Under this programme, voluntary returns have been provided with post-arrival assistance, which includes shelter, onward transportation and family tracing and reunification. Of the total number of returnees, 753 have been identified as victims of trafficking, most of whom were between ages 18 and 35.

IOM works closely with local partners including the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to tackle human trafficking in Nigeria, through the enactment of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act which highlights the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing this scourge.

The event kicked off with a session on understanding migrant vulnerability led by Heather Komenda, IOM HQ Migrant Protection and Assistance Specialist.

“I would like to thank IOM for conducting the training that is in line with the Ministry’s priorities and enhancing the capacity of the actors who attended the training on the updated IOM Handbook on Protection and Assistance for Migrants Vulnerable to Violence, Exploitation and Abuse,” said Jacob Olutimi, representative from the Federal Ministry of Women and Social Development.

Among the training’s outcomes were a list of actionable commitments to strengthen direct assistance to vulnerable migrants, as well as boost cooperation with partners through stronger referral mechanisms.

For more information, please contact: Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 815 5263 827, Email: jgalindo@iom.int