Cablegate: Nigeria: Trafficking in Persons Report

DE RUEHUJA #0404/01 0601323
P 291323Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) The following is Mission Nigeria's submission for the
annual trafficking in persons (TIP) report. Paragraphs
respond to questions in reftel.

2. (SBU) -- A. Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination
country for trafficked persons. Trafficking also occurs
within the country's borders. The National Agency for the
Prohibition of Traffic In Persons and Other Related Matters
(NAPTIP) is unable to keep accurate numbers of trafficking
victims, but continues to use a 2002 United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimate that out of 15 million
children in the labor force, 40 percent (6 million) were
trafficked. UNICEF estimates between 50,000 and 70,000
African women are in Italy in prostitution, of which 70
percent are from Nigeria. Common sources of trafficking
information are NAPTIP, Ministry of Labor and Productivity,
Ministry of Women's Affairs, International Organization for
Migration (IOM), UN Crime and Research Institute (UNCRI), UN
Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNICEF. NAPTIP
estimates female trafficking victims outnumber males by a
ratio of 4 to 1.

-- B. The Nigerian government continued to make efforts to
combat trafficking, but has thus far failed to provide
adequate funding. Moreover, the government's limited efforts
are hampered by corruption, endemic poverty, and the
country's porous borders.

NAPTIP is the lead agency for all TIP issues. The NAPTIP Act
and the Child Rights Act provide the legal framework to
combat trafficking and the government continues its efforts
to sensitize citizens to the dangers of trafficking.
However, trafficking remains widespread because of poverty,
corruption, and lack of awareness, which aid traffickers.
Prosecutions remain limited, both in number and
effectiveness, and convictions even more so. Although the
NAPTIP Act criminalizes trafficking, in practice the courts
move slowly leading to NAPTIP securing very few convictions
relative to the number of cases. With regard to protection,
NAPTIP lacks adequate funding to maintain its shelters at a
reasonable standard, and to provide adequate services to
rescued victims. NAPTIP also lacks adequate funding to
provide victims with rehabilitation, training, and
microcredit loans and often looks to international NGOs and
foreign governments for assistance. Overall, there is no
evidence that trafficking is decreasing, and it may in fact
be on the rise as widespread poverty continues to encourage
desperate measures.

Trafficking received increased attention in Nigeria and the
government has increased public sensitization through its
publicity campaigns. These campaigns include posters, print
media, and radio commercials. Sensitization campaigns have
had some effect as NAPTIP claims the publicity has forced
traffickers to move their operations to more remote sections
of the country. However, it is probably a mixture of public
awareness and increased, visible enforcement efforts that
have pushed the traffickers into the rural reaches of the
country. While the media publicity is generally
anti-trafficking, some NGOs complain that some Nigerian
movies glamorize trafficking.

Traffickers often employ deception to lure their victims.
Traffickers will often lie to the victim about the work
he/she will do. While some TIP victims know they will go
into prostitution, many victims are told, and believe, they
will pick fruit or be a domestic servant, and only later find
out they will be subjected to hard labor or the sex industry.
In parts of the south, some traffickers use traditional
religious beliefs to frighten their victims into doing the
trafficker's bidding and dissuade them from trying to escape
or go to the police. Some young victims are desperate and

ABUJA 00000404 002 OF 008

encouraged by their families to travel to Europe, but are
unaware of the extremely difficult trek across the Sahara,
which is the most common route. Once victims reach Europe,
sometimes after several months of being forced to work in
North Africa, they are then often kept virtual prisoners
until they can repay the cost of their journey and turn a
profit for the trafficker. Sometimes parents will agree to
traffic a child, believing it to be for the good of the rest
of the family. These parents will often convince or coerce
the child into participating, using the example of
prostitutes and laborers who have sent money to support their
family. Traffickers will sometimes send a little money to
the family for a while and then stop the remittances,
claiming the child has escaped. Traffickers most often
target the young and poor, aged 8 to 25 years. These men,
women, and children are intended for prostitution, domestic
work, or hard labor in the fields.

International trafficking destinations include, but are not
limited to, the ECOWAS countries, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia,
Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
France, Norway, and Ireland. Transit countries include
countries in north and west Africa, particularly Libya and
Morocco. While Libya and Morocco are not considered
destination countries, often victims will live and work in
these countries for an indefinite period of time during their
travel. The absence of travel restrictions makes ECOWAS
countries a destination for trafficking, but traffickers will
seek greater profits in Europe. TIP victims in Europe are
often involved in the sex industry. Italy is a prime
destination for Nigerians, especially those from Edo State,
who are being trafficked for the sex industry. Many are
concentrated in Turin. TIP victims in the UK are often found
in domestic work. In Saudi Arabia, TIP victims are found
both in prostitution and domestic labor. In Nigeria and the
rest of Africa, TIP victims are working in prostitution,
domestic labor, and field labor. There is a large amount of
internal trafficking, going from rural areas and states such
as Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, and northern states to the
urban centers of Lagos, Abuja, and Kano.

False documents are a common tool used to move TIP victims.
Traffickers will often use the passport of a girl who has
already traveled with a legitimate visa. The traffickers
will substitute the photo and the victim will travel using
the doctored passport. Traffickers work in a syndicate which
includes a head pimp, usually a wealthy individual referred
to as the "madam" or "italo sponsor" who heads the syndicate.
The madams see trafficking as an avenue to profit, creating
a need to find more recruits. The syndicate also includes
recruiters, "trolleys" who are in charge of the transport of
the victims and obtaining documentation, complicit police,
immigration and/or ministerial level staff, and sometimes
traditional religious figures who practice witchcraft to
intimidate victims. Sixteen states have passed the Child
Rights Act to deal specifically with human trafficking, but
funding at all levels to carry out the mandate adequately is
insufficient. Recent immigration reforms tightening the
issuance of passports are expected to yield a decrease in
trafficking, because they will make it easier to detect.

-- C. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic In
Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) is the lead agency
for all TIP issues. Common sources of trafficking
information are NAPTIP, the Ministry of Labor and
Productivity, the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social
Development, the International Organization for Migration
(IOM), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and UNICEF.

-- D. The Nigerian government has made efforts to combat
trafficking, but has thus far failed to provide sufficient
funding to NAPTIP, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), or the
Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to allow them to fight
trafficking in persons adequately. Moreover, the
government's limited efforts are hampered by the country's
corruption, endemic poverty, and porous borders.

ABUJA 00000404 003 OF 008

-- E. The government monitors its anti-trafficking efforts
through a quarterly anti-TIP stakeholders forum. NAPTIP does
not issue an annual report, but does respond to queries.
NAPTIP, the NPF, and NIS lack basic data on numbers of
trafficking victims. However, NAPTIP has been working with
USAID and an implementing partner, the American Bar
Association (ABA), to develop a database system containing
information on victims and traffickers that can be accessed
and utilized by all agencies involved in the fight against
human trafficking.

-- A. The government passed the Trafficking In Persons,
(Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Acts in 2003
and 2005 respectively, as well as the Child Rights Act in
2002 and 2005. The Child Rights Act increased sanctions and
established the best interests of the child as an operating
principle. The laws cover trafficking for both sexual and
non-sexual purposes, as well as internal and external

In addition, traffickers can be prosecuted under the Criminal
Code (applicable in southern states of Nigeria), the Penal
Code (applicable in northern states of Nigeria), the Edo
State Law Against Human Trafficking (applicable only to Edo
State), the Labor Act (1974), and the Immigration Act. These
laws taken together adequately cover the scope of trafficking
in Nigeria.

-- B. Under the Child Rights Act, the penalty for
trafficking people for sexual exploitation purposes is ten
years to life imprisonment and/or a $1,560 (200,000 naira)
fine, which is far too lenient and does not act as a
sufficient deterrent. The penalty for trafficking for
purposes of labor exploitation is five years imprisonment
and/or $780 fine (100,000 naira). The Criminal Code issues a
sentence of two years imprisonment for procuring, pimping,
and exploiting prostitutes. The Penal Code states
trafficking in women for immoral purposes carries a seven
year sentence; originally written as gender specific, it is
now revised to allow for men and women to be prosecuted for
this crime.

-- C. The Criminal Code states forced labor has a penalty of
imprisonment. The Penal Code states forced labor has a
penalty of one year in prison. The Child Rights Act provides
a ten-year sentence for trafficking children for hawking or
begging. The Criminal and Penal Codes carry a 14-year
sentence for externally trafficking persons into slavery.

-- D. The penalty for rape is ten years and/or a 200,000
Naira ($1,560) fine, while forcible sexual assault carries a
two year jail term. The penalty for rape is the same as
trafficking for purposes of commercial exploitation.

-- E. Prostitution is illegal at both the federal and state
level; however, it remains widespread in Nigeria, centered
mainly in hotels, bars, and crossroads areas such as truck

-- F. The data, although fairly unreliable, reflects that
there were 80 new trafficking cases investigated, 23 cases
prosecuted, and four convictions obtained during the
reporting period. At the time of the report there were still
52 cases pending.

-- G. The government does provide training in how to
recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of
trafficking. In coordination with USAID and the American Bar
Association, the following training was conducted during the
reporting period:

During FY07, in cooperation with NAPTIP, NPF, and National
Judicial Institute (NJI) a total of 758 persons were trained
with USG assistance as described below:

ABUJA 00000404 004 OF 008

NPF: A total of 26 police academy instructors were trained on
a new curriculum that was drafted by an additional five
persons trained with the assistance of the American Bar

NIS: A total of 650 persons were trained during three events.
The first event focused on training officers in the various
North Central zone commands. Following this event, the
officers from the first session assisted in step-down
training for 592 new NIS officers posted to the North Central
zone. The second event trained 28 instructors at the NIS
schools on the new curriculum which includes trafficking

NAPTIP and NJI: A total of 43 judges and prosecutors were
trained during two events. The training was aimed at helping
build the capacity to prosecute and adjudicate TIP cases,
with an emphasis on the rights of TIP victims during the
court proceedings.

-- H. The government of Nigeria does cooperate and actively
work with several other countries in the investigation and
prosecution of trafficking cases. NAPTIP worked with eight
countries including Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, United
Kingdom, Italy, France, Norway, and Belgium, with the United
States as an observer, to apprehend an international ring of
traffickers. NAPTIP also worked in coordination with other
countries in the region, most notably Benin, Togo, and

-- I. The government has established extradition agreements
to repatriate traffickers. However, there have been no cases
involving the extradition of any traffickers during the
reporting period.

-- J. Corruption is endemic within the Nigerian Police Force
and Nigerian Immigration Service. The police and immigration
officials are poorly paid and are prone to accepting bribes
to turn a blind eye to trafficking. There is strong suspicion
of complicity in trafficking by individuals at border posts
as well as airports. In addition, officials do not always
distinguish between victims of trafficking and prostitutes.

-- K. NAPTIP makes every effort to investigate officials
involved in trafficking but has a difficult time proving

-- L. There was no evidence that peacekeeping troops deployed
abroad were involved in or facilitating severe forms of
trafficking or exploiting victims of such trafficking.

-- M. Nigeria has not been identified as having a child sex
tourism problem. However, children under 18 are often
trafficked for sexual purposes.

-- A. The government does not provide permanent residency
status, only temporary residency status, to TIP victims.

-- B. The government does provide assistance to TIP victims
through NAPTIP shelter services. The shelters provide legal,
medical, and psychological assistance for the victims.
However, the shelters only provide temporary services, and
generally not for more than six months. NAPTIP will keep
victims at the shelter to obtain their testimony for
prosecution of traffickers. TIP victims with
sexually-transmitted diseases or who are HIV positive can
obtain medical assistance while in the shelter. NAPTIP has
an agreement with certain hospitals and clinics to provide
service to TIP victims. NAPTIP in coordination with the USG,
assisted 695 victims during the reporting period. NAPTIP
maintains seven shelters in Lagos, Abuja, Benin City, Sokoto,
Kano, Enugu and Akwa Ibom States.

ABUJA 00000404 005 OF 008

-- C. The government does not provide funding to NGOs but
does work closely with the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) and UNICEF to receive TIP victims. IOM
handles voluntary repatriations, whereas NAPTIP handles
involuntary repatriations. IOM will transfer victims to
NAPTIP's jurisdiction while NAPTIP sends the TIP victims to
the shelters for long and short term counseling,
rehabilitation, and reintegration services, as well as to
NGOs. After the victims leave the shelter they can contact
their state governments for assistance. With USG assistance,
NAPTIP also worked with ABA to provide capacity building
training to 34 counselors who serve the residents at the
seven shelters run by NAPTIP.

-- D. According NAPTIP, they identified over 800 victims
during the reporting period; however, due to inadequate
record keeping it is difficult to determine the true number.

-- E. Prostitution is not legal.

-- F. The rights of victims are protected under the NAPTIP
Act. NAPTIP does not jail victims, though the agency keeps
foreign TIP victims in shelters under guard until they are
repatriated. Victims are not fined or prosecuted.

-- G. The government does encourage victims to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking as victim's
testimony is usually required to prosecute. Victims can file
suit against their traffickers but rarely do so because of
poverty, fear, or pressure. NAPTIP will obtain a victim's
testimony for prosecution and after that the victim will be
free to return to their family, but there are instances where
the victim has nowhere to go. As court cases lag, it is
difficult to get victims to come in from their towns to the
court and testify; the longer that phase, the less likely
their appearance in court. There is a victim restitution
program, which allows victims to obtain compensation from the
traffickers. It has been established, but it is reportedly
not effective, as few victims have obtained compensation.

-- H. The government provides protection through the police.
NAPTIP maintains seven shelters in Lagos (Lagos State), Abuja
(Federal Capital Territory), Kano (Kano State), Sokoto
(Sokoto State), Enugu (Enugu State), Uyo (Akwa Ibom State)
and Benin City (Edo State). NAPTIP does not have any funds
to reintegrate victims into society, but sometimes IOM and
UNICEF have provided reintegration support funds, as have
some NGOs. Because only a small percentage of Nigerians are
able to find formal sector employment, legitimate employment
opportunities for rehabilitated trafficking victims are
severely limited. Child victims are placed in shelters and
reunited with their families if possible. Sometimes families
cannot be located or are unwilling to accept the child.

-- I. The government provides training to NAPTIP, NIS, and
police officials in trafficking matters. Nigerian Embassies
and Consulates are also sensitized to human trafficking
through training conducted by NAPTIP. The Nigerian Embassy
in Italy aids TIP victims in country by connecting them to
NGOs who can provide assistance.

-- J. The government provides assistance through the NAPTIP
shelters and the victim assistance package. The NAPTIP
shelters provide medical support and work closely with Women
Trafficking & Child Labor Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) in
providing shelter and healthcare. TIP victims choose a
vocation and are provided with the necessary equipment and
training. In addition, some states provide assistance to TIP
victims through their own programs. In Edo State, there is
training for TIP victims through the UNICEF center in Benin
City, as well as through other NGOs. TIP victims can receive
training in hairdressing, sewing, computers, and catering.
Some TIP victims are eligible for microcredit, though in
practice, the number of victims receiving funding is small.
NGOs report that microcredit must be accompanied by skill and
management training in order to maximize effectiveness.

ABUJA 00000404 006 OF 008

-- K. UNICEF, ABA, IOM, ILO, ECOWAS, and the AU work with TIP
victims. IOM meets repatriated victims at the port of entry
and refers them to NAPTIP. IOM also supports the Lagos
shelter. UNICEF has provided funds for food and training
equipment for the shelter. UNICEF helped fund a training
center for youth, including trafficking victims, in Benin
City. Prominent local NGOs include WOTCLEF, the Women's
Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON), Idia Renaissance, the Society
for the Empowerment of Young Persons (SEYP), Women's Rights
Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Girl's Power
Initiative (GPI), African Women Empowerment Guild (AWEG),
Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW),
and the Network for Justice and Democracy (NJD). NAPTIP
refers victims to some of these organizations for
rehabilitation, as they often lack the necessary funding.
The government does not allocate sufficient resources to
NAPTIP to carry out its mandate effectively. NAPTIP and NGOs
suggest there is a lack of political will to convince the
executive and legislative branches to dedicate more resources
to TIP.

-- A. The government does acknowledge that TIP is a problem
in Nigeria.

-- B. NAPTIP has conducted anti-trafficking public awareness
and education campaigns during the reporting period. The
campaigns largely involved posters, billboards, commercials,
and forums in villages to sensitize the public to the
problems of trafficking. NAPTIP targeted schools for its
primary education drive. These efforts have forced
traffickers to move their recruiting activity to more remote
areas. However, reports show that the trafficking has merely
moved, not decreased. NGOs have also been active in
sensitization campaigns to target potential victims. These
campaigns generally consist of a rally or conference,
distribution of anti-trafficking paraphenalia, and publicity
through the media. Unfortunately, due to insufficient record
keeping, it is difficult to determine the number of people
reached by these efforts, or whether these outreach efforts
have dissuaded any potential victims.

The government implemented an education reform plan called
the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program, with the goal of
improving facilities and establishing basic education
standards. The UBE is one attempt to make children less
vulnerable to trafficking by keeping them in school.
However, implementation of the UBE has been spotty.

-- C. The government has several different methods to work
with NGOs active in TIP. The national stakeholder forum,
established by NAPTIP in 2003, met monthly in each state and
quarterly in the six regional zones, including Abuja, giving
all organizations interested in TIP an opportunity to
collaborate. The national forum includes representatives from
state-level working groups, NGOs, and international agencies
such as UNICEF, ILO, and IOM. The regional forums consist of
local government officials, traditional rulers, police,
immigration authorities, churches, and NGOs. Additionally,
there were 29 state-level anti-trafficking committees,
consisting of immigration officials, civil society
organizations, law enforcement agents, and federal
ministries. These groups were charged with coordinating
action in trafficking cases and creating prevention programs
on the local level. Local NGOs and churches have a cordial
relationship with NAPTIP, and the agency participates in NGO
conferences and sometimes refers TIP victims to the NGOs for
rehabilitative work. In Benin City, NAPTIP often refers
victims to Idia Renaissance and the Committee for the Support
and Dignity of Women (COSUDOW). In Abuja, NAPTIP often relies
on WOTCLEF for assistance with sheltering, education, and
rehabilitation for victims. NGOs work in a consultative
manner with NAPTIP, but the agency makes the final decisions.
Some NGOs report being unaware of stakeholders' meetings or

ABUJA 00000404 007 OF 008

other developments.

-- D. NAPTIP works closely with the Nigerian Immigration
Service (NIS) to monitor trafficking patterns. The NAPTIP
Director of Investigations is a highly respected senior
Immigration Officer who has direct access to the Comptroller
General of Immigration. NAPTIP's sensitization training has
helped immigration authorities to recognize trafficking at
the borders. According to NAPTIP officials, the large flow
of migrants across Nigeria's borders makes it difficult for
NIS to tell the difference between trafficking and alien
smuggling. NAPTIP has been working with the American Bar
Association (ABA) on conducting additional training at each
border post around Nigeria to equip the officers on the
ground better. With USG assistance, ABA is also helping
NAPTIP with the development of a database of traffickers and
their victims; once operational, the database will assist
police and NIS in identifying potential suspects and victims.
Recent changes in immigration law tightening passport
issuance are also expected to decrease trafficking.

-- E. NAPTIP is made up of officers from both the Nigerian
Immigration Service and the Nigeria Police Force, allowing
for coordination between the agencies. However, NAPTIP is the
lead agency and point of contact on all TIP issues. The
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the
Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses
Commission (ICPC) handle issues of public corruption, and the
EFCC is the lead prosecuting agency on corruption cases.

-- F. A national plan of action was developed in 2006, but
was never approved by the former President. It is unclear
whether the new president or his administration have seen the
proposed national action plan or if such a plan will be

-- G. Although there are statues at both the federal and
state levels criminalizing prostitution, the commercial sex
industry is pervasive.

-- H. N/A

-- I. Many Nigerian peacekeeping troops undergo human rights
training through Africa Contingency Operations Training and
Assistance (ACOTA) seminars before deployment.

-- Mr. Mohammed Babandede, Director of Investigation and
Monitoring for NAPTIP has been with the agency since its
inception and has dedicated his time (and sometimes his own
money) to combating trafficking. His dedication and diligence
have directly led to the 14 convictions NAPTIP has been able
obtain over the years.

-- Ms. Grace Osakue, co-founder and South-west coordinator of
Girls' Power Initiative (GPI), and country coordinator for
International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group
(IRRRAG), works tirelessly to empower adolescent girls to
help them develop into healthy, self-reliant, and productive
women who will contribute to the further development of
Nigeria as well.

-- NAPTIP has made efforts to collaborate with foreign
governments in order to crack down on international
trafficking rings. In coordination with countries such as the
United Kingdom, France, Spain, Norway, Ireland, Italy,
Belgium, and the Netherlands, NAPTIP assisted with the
investigation and arrest of over 20 traffickers worldwide.
NAPTIP realizes that trafficking is a global issue and
eagerly attempts to work with their international colleagues
to combat TIP.

ABUJA 00000404 008 OF 008

Nyree Tripptree, Political Officer, Abuja
Telephone: 234-9-461-4245 or 234-803-408-1071

Number of hours spent on preparation of the Nigeria TIP
Chief of Mission: 1
Deputy Chief of Mission: 1
Political Counselor: 1
Deputy Political Counselor: 1
USAID Officers: 5
INL Officer: 1
PolOff Lagos: 10
PolOff Abuja: 50

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