INSigHT Action “Building Capacity to deal with Human Trafficking and Transit Routes in Nigeria, Italy, Sweden” aims to address the theme of human trafficking (HT) from Nigeria to Italy and through it to Sweden, with particular attention to i) less explored emerging trends and target populations; ii) the efficacy of prevention, protection and/or rehabilitation systems in the three countries, with particular focus on Nigerian children.
Recent evidence on HT trends shows that Italy is relevant not only as a destination, but also as a country of transit towards other EU destinations, such as Sweden. Furthermore, the issue of re-trafficking is becoming increasingly relevant in Nigeria. While a number of reports and studies have documented the main HT routes from Nigeria to the EU, including also Italy, less attention has been paid to intra-European transit routes and to returns to Nigeria and the risk of re-trafficking. To this aim the Action intends to produce new knowledge on HT, from the most affected areas of Nigeria to relevant secondary and reverse movements across transit routes in Northern Europe and returns to Nigeria. It also intends to design and implement capacity building and awareness raising schemes targeting relevant strategic stakeholders, particularly Law Enforcement Officers.
Although males are more rarely considered as victims of HT, it has become evident that more and more Nigerian men are living in conditions of forced labour in Italy. As far as the Veneto Region, in Northern Italy, is concerned, anti-trafficking stakeholders have pointed out their increasing involvement in begging and drug-dealing circuits in urban areas. This casts doubts on whether they may be trapped in illegal activities as a coping strategy, associated with smuggling, or whether they may have been trapped in HT. In this context, a specific part of the Action intends to investigate these potential links and intersections. At the same time the involvement of Nigerian men in such activities is increasingly visible and it strongly contributes to a negative perception and stigmatization of Nigerian migrants. The result is that the wider population is calling for more police interventions.
On its side, INSigHT Action will promote awareness raising activities for Law Enforcement Officers, Anti-trafficking Project Operators and the wider society to ensure a more comprehensive and less stigmatized understanding of HT is promoted, thus ultimately favouring evidence-based policy-making.
Another relevant theme the Action addresses is the need for enhancing strategies for the long-term re-integration of victims through Rehabilitation Programs. The Action will therefore look at existing programs for returnees and explore the extent to which they are equipped to cope with the risk of returnees’ re-trafficking. The overall Action is conceived as public policy laboratory, with an experimental and innovative approach characterised by the adoption of ethnographic action-research methods as backbones to inform local Policy-makers, Law Enforcements Officers and key stakeholders on emerging trends and challenges, to favour professional exchanges and co-design, together with stakeholders, improved strategies to best deal with HT.
The overall objective of INSigHT Action is to increase the capacity of key local stakeholders in the Veneto Region (Italy), Edo State and Lagos (Nigeria) and Stockholm (Sweden) to tackle HT and to deal with its evolving dynamics, trends, forms and modus operandi, with specific attention to female children, while promoting knowledge-based policy making in the respective countries and reinforcing transnational cooperation.
Specific objectives of the Action are:
- SO1: to produce new gender-disaggregated knowledge on emerging trends, mechanisms and dynamics underpinning the recruitment of victims of trafficking in Nigeria, their transit through secondary routes in Italy and their potential rehabilitation in Nigeria, with focus on children;
- SO2: to strengthen the prevention and protection systems for children, in Italy, Sweden, and Nigeria, through a gender-aware evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses, with specific focus on rehabilitation in Nigeria, the urban security/public order (rather than prevention) approach in Italy and transit/secondary movements in Sweden;
- SO3: to improve key local stakeholders’ knowledge and capacity to deal with THB in Italy and Nigeria, and in Sweden as far as transit and secondary movements are concerned, and to promote knowledge-based and gender-aware policy-making, while fostering transnational cooperation;
- SO4: to raise awareness among victim returnees and law enforcement officers on evolving trafficking dynamics, particularly as far as women and children are concerned.
The Action is divided into 5 working packages:
WP1 – INCEPTION PHASE
A Kick-off Meeting and a Gap-analysis Workshop will be organised in Brussels and Benin City respectively to present the Action to relevant stakeholders (Donors, Representatives of European Commission, Representatives of relevant Embassies and Representatives of on-going Anti-trafficking Projects) and to exchange experiences and approaches, while discussing on complementarities and possible synergies. The aim is to complete a detailed gap-analysis of current initiatives on HT in Nigeria, while also promoting active networking.
WP2 – ANALYSIS OF EMERGING TRENDS AND OF THE PREVENTION/ PROTECTION/ REHABILITATION SYSTEMS IN THE TARGET COUNTRIES
The research team of the University of Venice (including 3 Italian Researcher, 1 Swedish Researcher and 1 Nigerian Researcher) will carry out ethnographic research (in-depth qualitative interviews and participant observation with outreach units, evaluation units, rehabilitation units and within inclusion projects) in the Veneto Region, along the Brenner route (one of Italy’s borders with Austria and towards Northern Europe), in Sweden and Nigeria (Edo State and Lagos). The research aims to evaluate the respective systems of prevention, protection and rehabilitation and to explore the extent to which they are equipped to deal with the specific needs of female children and the risks associated with secondary and reverse movements and re-trafficking. A specific focus of the research will be on the emerging engagement of Nigerian male adults in begging and drug activities in Northern Italy and its potential association with smuggling and/or HT. Two final conferences and a seminar will be organised in Italy, Nigeria and Sweden respectively to report on the findings and on the wider Action outcomes.
WP3 – CAPACITY BUILDING
Participative Workshop for key stakeholders in the Veneto Region (Italy)
A 3-day Participative Workshop will be organised by N.A.Ve to define experimental implementation tools and measures for the protection of Nigerian migrants, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders (Law Enforcement, Local and Regional Authorities, Ministry of Interior and Local Representations, local Universities, Trade Unions, Provincial Labour Directorates, Local and Regional Health Authorities, Anti-trafficking Project Operators). This aims to set a strategic agenda for more effective engagement and collaboration, not only in the first phase of victims’ identification but all throughout the protection program, thus favouring capacity and providing opportunities for exchange among stakeholders.
Participative Workshop on Rehabilitation in Nigeria
A 2-day Participative Workshop on Rehabilitation Services will be conducted by PJI, targeting key stakeholders (NAPTIP, NGOs, community leaders, Government leaders), in order to share good practices on rehabilitation.
Capacity Building for Law Enforcement Officers in the Veneto Region (Italy), Nigeria and Sweden.
Three 2-day Capacity Building Program will be organised by N.A.Ve, targeting junior Law Enforcement Officers and Police Officers in the Veneto Region. The Program will focus on the prevention of HT and the protection of victims, with a gender- and child-aware medium-term policy approach, while addressing the needs of women and children thoroughly. One 2-day Capacity Building Program will be organised and conducted by PJI, across various ranks of Law Enforcement in Edo State. The Program will include a full-day seminar for Leading Officials and Regional Heads and a full-day Program for trainers of Police Academy and continuing education. In both Programs an expert Law Enforcement Officer from Nigeria and Italy respectively will be involved, and possibly an Expert of the Europol team, with the aim to promote the exchange of experiences at transnational level. As far as Sweden is concerned, the University of Venice will be responsible to provide recommendation for a Capacity Building Agenda for Law Enforcement Officers.
Training for Cultural and Linguistic Mediators in the Veneto Region
A 6-day Training will be organised by N.A.Ve, targeting Cultural and Linguistic Mediators working with migrants. The training will specifically aim to train them on HT, in order to ensure they can best provide support to relevant Anti-trafficking stakeholders.
WP4 – AWARENESS RAISING
Awareness Raising in Nigeria: Helpdesk, Training in schools, On the road Campaign
NWA will launch a Helpdesk in Lagos, to reach out to victim returnees and their families and alert them of the dangers of re-trafficking. The Helpdesk will be operated for 12 months, by social workers of the Institute of Social Work, with whom NWA has been collaborating. This aims to promote the institutionalisation of awareness raising and to contribute to building the capacity of social workers beyond the Action. In order to complement the efforts of the Helpdesk, two 2-day Trainings for teachers will be organised and delivered in selected colleges and secondary schools in Lagos and Enugu, to raise awareness among students on voluntary return and the dangers of re-trafficking and to support teachers in the preparation of ad-hoc awareness raising modules. Furthermore, two Awareness Raising Events will be organised, with the active involvement of the trained teachers. An Itinerant Awareness Raising Campaign will also be organised in Lagos and Enugu, geographical areas that have been less covered by awareness raising activities in Nigeria. This aims to reach out to victim returnees during the off-school summer months and in hard-to-reach locations.
Counter-narratives on Nigerians in the Veneto Region (Italy)
An Awareness Raising event, targeting Law Enforcement Officers and the wider society will be carried out in the Veneto Region, on the European Anti-trafficking day, in October 2019. It will focus on the conditions of vulnerability of Nigerian migrants trapped in trafficking circuits in Northern Italy, with the scope to counter widespread stereotypes against Nigerian nationals which often translate in demands for increased police interventions.
WP5 – MAKING THE ACTION VISIBLE AND STRENGHTENING TRANSNATIONAL COOPERATION
Associazione 2050 will set up a dedicated Action website that will be used to upload all the materials that will be produced throughout the Action activities, in order to promote dissemination. A specific part of Action website will provide an online interactive searchable database, including certified organisations in Nigeria, Italy, Sweden that are involved in anti-trafficking activities. The target users of the database will be first of all the Action applicant and co-applicants and their partners (beyond the Action). Its function will be to favour the sharing of good practices, to facilitate the search for certified partners for effective transnational cooperation.
- SSIIM Unesco Chair, Università IUAV di Venezia – lead partner
- NWA – Nigerian Women Association, Verona/Lagos (Italy/Nigeria)
- Coop. Equality, Padua (Italy)
- Coop. Azalea, Verona (Italy)
- Pathfinders Justice Initiative, Benin City/New York (Nigeria/US)
- Associazione 2050 (Italy) – Media partner
18 months (01.04.2019 – 30.09.2020)