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The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, has warned Nigerians, especially young people, against sharing private and intimate content with friends and strangers to prevent the increasing cases of online sexual exploitation and sextortion in the country.
The warning was given during the inauguration of the NAPTIP Cybersecurity Response Team, which was set up to handle issues related to online exploitation, at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
Recently, NAPTIP intensified intelligence and undercover operations in the Federal Capital Territory and other hotspots to prevent suspected criminal elements from taking advantage of vulnerable people, particularly young girls, and children.
The agency’s efforts have paid off with the arrest of members of a criminal cult who were terrorizing residents of the Federal Capital Territory and surrounding areas, and the dismantling of the gang.
Before the inauguration of the Cybersecurity Response Team, the Director General expressed concern about the casual behavior of some people who, in the excitement of love and emotion, reveal inappropriate content or information.
Prof. Waziri-Azi, said, “We all know that the advent of technology has brought about unprecedented opportunities for communication and access to information which has also created new avenues for criminals to exploit people, especially vulnerable women, and children.
“We have seen incremental cases of Child Sexual Assault Materials on the internet, child pornography; sextortion, and revenge porn, and these are all forms of sexual exploitation. This is why as an Agency we must take a proactive and collaborative approach to tackle online threats.
“So, NAPTIP in partnership with International Justice Mission (IJM), Meta, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL), National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and UNODC, has trained 20 Officers from the HQ and Zonal Commands on Child Sexual Exploitation Materials, Open Source & Social Media Intelligence as well as Online Investigation.
“The Cybersecurity Response Team made up of trained Officers from different units and departments, coordinated by the Head of the National Monitoring Center will leverage cutting-edge technology and expertise to identify perpetrators of cybercrimes within our remit.
“In addition, the unit is expected to work closely with other stakeholders in this space to enhance our collective response to cybersecurity and online exploitation challenges.
“Now, given the constant presence of threat actors, cyberattacks against private and public organizations are inevitable. Because attackers face relatively little risk compared to the potential losses that the organizations they target could suffer, hackers have an advantage over those targeted.
“Which is why the Cybersecurity Task Team is also charged with the responsibility of preventing and responding to cyber-attacks on the Agency’s cyber infrastructure through an Embedded Endurance strategy”, the Director General said.
PLATFORM TIMES recalls that the agency has a strong track record of proactive operations that have led to the apprehension of numerous organized human trafficking syndicates throughout the country. This has resulted in the arrest, rescue, and prosecution of many traffickers.
The establishment of NAPTIP’s Cybersecurity Task Team is considered a wise and timely strategic move that will effectively put an end to the activities of human traffickers and other related syndicates in the country.
NAPTIP has been involved in the development of the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy as a member of the National Technical Committee, and it is also part of the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+) National Coordination Team.
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