Catholic Archdiocese in Nigeria Facilitating Advocacy Project to Counter Human Trafficking

Bishop Anselm Umoren, Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja is facilitating an advocacy initiative aimed at countering the vice of human trafficking in the West African nation.

In a Wednesday, August 24 message shared with ACI Africa, the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese who chairs the JDPC of the Nigerian Metropolitan See says that the initiative dubbed the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) being realized as a partnership seeks justice “for survivors of trafficking in Nigeria”.

“JDPC Abuja with support from Palladiums/USAID is implementing the SCALE Project designed in line with the countering trafficking in persons component objective,” Bishop Anselm Umoren says.

Bishop Umoren adds, “The advocacy issues to be addressed cut across increased funding of the focal government agency – National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)”.

The advocacy initiative, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop says, also seeks to foster the “prosecution of traffickers and addressing inadequate service provision for survivors of trafficking in Nigeria especially through the activation of the victims of trafficking trust fund.”


Some of the strategies employed in the realization of the initiative include “capacity strengthening for members, advocacy engagements, campaign and public awareness to achieve our goal,” the 60-year-old Catholic member of the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria (MSPN) who started his Episcopal Ministry in February 2012 says. 

An August 18 report indicates that Bishop Umoren along with a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Damian Dodo, and the Director of NAPTIP, Arinze Orakwue want Nigeria’s members of parliament “to provide the legislative framework for the courts to confiscate the assets of human traffickers”.

The leaders who spoke during the official launch of three advocacy campaign hashtags by the Action Against Trafficking In Persons Cluster (AATIP) and SCALE on August 17 said such confiscation would not only weaken the criminal networks involved in the vice of human trafficking but also have human trafficking victims profit from what is confiscated.

In his input during the launch of the advocacy campaign hashtags #FundNAPTIP, #ConfiscateTraffickingProceeds, and #SayNoToHumanTrafficking, Bishop Umoren emphasized the need for the relevant government agency tasked with combating human trafficking to be adequately funded.

Without adequate funding, the Catholic Bishop said, the West African country will neither be able to succeed in prosecuting the traffickers nor assist the victims of the vice.

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In the August 24 message shared with ACI Africa, the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese regrets the fact that “trafficking in persons has gone beyond sexual exploitation and domestic servitude; it has now extended to organ harvesting.”

These days, he says, human traffickers “kill people and sell their organs. They believe it is easier for them to get money that way than to start waiting for a prostitute to bring returns. So, it has taken a frightening and scary dimension.”

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop notes that human trafficking a global issue and that no country is spared. 

“Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry globally,” he says, adding that every year, “thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.”

The Chairman of JDPC Abuja says that traffickers use fake promises, messages and deceit to lure millions of people into their hands. He adds that “trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.”


To combat the vice in Nigeria, the leadership of JDPC of the Archdiocese of Abuja is seeking to implement the three advocacy campaign Hashtags launched on August 17.

Using the #FundNAPTIP hashtag, JDPC Abuja will “call for increased budgetary allocation and private sector intervention for the national Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.”

The #ConfiscateTraffickingProceeds hashtag will seek to counter the means that human traffickers use to lure their victims, including coercion and fraudulent confiscation of their victims’ documents.

Meanwhile, the #SayNoToHumanTrafficking hashtag will be used to harmonize the voice against human trafficking and bring to book those who take advantage of the vulnerable.

“The hashtags will reinforce discussions with relevant stakeholders on our advocacy tasks and will serve as a communication reference throughout the project cycle,” Bishop Umoren says in his August 24 message. 

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He adds, “The media hashtags will run throughout the length of the SCALE program and beyond, to educate citizens/public and mobilize support for the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Act and related matters.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.