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HuCaPAN, Licenced International Labour Recruiters Back Labour Ministry on War Against Human Trafficking

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By Our Reporter

The Chief Executive Officer of one of the international labour recruiting companies in Nigeria, Winston Worldwide Heritage Limited, Mr Ahmed Kehinde, has backed the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in the ongoing fight against human trafficking in Nigeria.

Ahmed, the CEO of Winston Worldwide Heritage Limited, a member of the Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria, HuCaPAN, made this assertion, in his Abuja office on Friday, August 21, 2020, while speaking with our reporter.

He said that HuCaPAN always ensures that her members go through due process in labour recruitment exercise both in Nigeria and Oversea.

He said, “although there are some illegal recruiters who operate without government approval to perpetrate the evil act of human trafficking in the country, they are not members of HuCaPAN as the Association does not accommodate unlicensed recruiters.”

He advised the Federal Government to develop and implement a well-structured labour migration management policy which will involve signing a bilateral agreement with the participating countries.

Ahmed said, “This will further help to curb the menace of human trafficking agents and the operation of illegal recruiters across the country.”

In a related development, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Charles Akpan, has denied the allegation of issuance of Recruiters’ Licence to Private Employment Agencies, PEAs, for human trafficking.

The information was contained in a statement signed by the deputy director.

The statement reads in part:
“The attention of the Ministry had been drawn to publications in the media accusing the Ministry of complicity in human trafficking, especially of Nigerian girls to other parts of the world.

He said, “the Ministry has not issued any recruiters’ licence with respect to the placement of Nigerian citizens abroad in breach of the relevant provisions of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004.

“Furthermore, at no time did the Federal Government issue any moratorium against the issuance of recruiters’ licence.

“The Ministry is empowered by sections 23, 25 and 71 of the Labour Act Cap L1 LFN 2004 to licence fit and proper persons to operate as labour contractors and private employment agencies.

“As part of the strategies to reduce irregular labour migration whilst promoting regular migration, the ministry has put in place a Labour Migration Desk to address the associated problems with the movement of skilled and low skilled persons within and outside the country.”

He said that the desk sought to ensure and create employment opportunities for Nigerians to work legally abroad, without fear of molestation, exploitation or any form of inhuman treatment or being subjected to unfair labour practices.

He stressed that the Ministry was guided by the provisions of the International Labour Organisation’s Migration for Employment Convention No 97, Private Employment Agencies Convention No 181 and its Recommendation No 188 and had taken initial steps required for its ratification.

Akpan, however, said that one of the basic means of implementing the principles of Convention 181 on private employment agencies was their mandatory registration and licencing.

He said that recruiters’ licences were issued to fit and proper persons and agencies in accordance with Section 25 of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004 and other requirements for the issuance of such licences.

”It is apparent from Section 25 of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004 that persons who meet the requirements for International Licences are eligible to engage in domestic recruitment as well.

“Furthermore, a recruiting agency may recruit low, middle, or highly skilled workers for placement within and outside the country,” he said.

Akpan added that prior to obtaining the recruiters’ licence, the recruiter was bound by the provisions of the Labour Act with respect to welfare and conditions of work of the worker and the procedures for operating the licence.

While commenting, the Executive Secretary, Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria, HuCaPAN, Mr Olajide Afolabi emphasized that the Association operates within the ambit of the laws and that its members do not engage in human trafficking activities saying that they operate within the ambit of relevant laws.

He said, “HuCaPAN as an umbrella body of Private Employment Agencies, PEAs, in Nigeria frowns at any act capable of circumventing the provisions of our laws and would not condone any act that could bring the name of the body into disrepute.

“Our members are law-abiding and are faithful to the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Private Employment Agencies in Nigeria jointly developed by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, International Labour Organisation, ILO, and other social partners,” Afolabi said.

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