Search

 

Cablegate: Nigeria: Southeast Naptip Zonal Office Growing In

VZCZCXRO5061
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0202/01 1620713
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100713Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9937
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9646
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000202

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO DOJ, KYAMOAH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM SMIG SOCI NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SOUTHEAST NAPTIP ZONAL OFFICE GROWING IN
CAPACITY

1. (SBU) Summary: In an April 15 meeting, the Director of the
Southeast National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in
Persons (NAPTIP) office told PolOffs child and infant trafficking to
augment family size, obtain domestic help and for ritual purposes, is
growing. Revised adoption policies, passage of Child Rights Acts in
four of the five Southeast states, and the establishment of family
courts in Abia and Anambra have helped to combat trafficking. The
Southeast office's efforts to coordinate with other Nigerian
government agencies on trafficking issues were among the better we
have encountered. End Summary.

-----------------------------
Child Trafficking on the Rise
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) Ijeoma Okoronkwo, Director of the Southeast National Agency
for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) zonal office,
told PolOffs on April 15 that child and infant trafficking in the
Southeast fo the purposes of adoption, domestic work, and allegedly
for use in rituals, is increasing. Okoronkwo emphasized that the
NAPTIP office's capacity to effectively handle the situation is also
increasing as they become more aware of new trafficking trends.

3. (SBU) Societal pressure on families to have children has caused an
increase in infant and young child trafficking, especially to the
Southwest, Okoronkwo said. In addition, legal adoptions are free,
adoption laws are complex and poorly understood, and many people who
are not aware of this option also purchase children to add to their
families to address the societal pressures, Okoronkwo stated. The
Ministry of Women's Affairs is reexamining current adoption policies
and implementing adherence programs. Okoronkwo also noted that local
customs can blur the definitions of trafficking and exacerbate the
cultural debate about anti-trafficking efforts. Although 18 is the
minimum age for domestic employees under Nigerian law, under local
custom poor families often send their children as young as five to
live with wealthier relatives or neighbors, making the distinction
between domestic help and intra-family charity difficult to discern.
Poverty and lack of awareness further exacerbate the conditions that
allow trafficking to flourish, especially in rural areas, the main
sector where victims come from. As a result, economic empowerment
for the rural areas is a priority for her office, Okoronkwo said,
although she has no resources to dedicate to that effort. In
addition, community watches have been set up to detect and report
trafficking, but more work needs to be done to draw local women's
organizations into the anti-trafficking struggle, she stated.
Okoronkwo concluded that until trafficking becomes a high risk and
low profit venture, it will continue.

4. (SBU) Four of the five southeast states (Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, and
Anambra, excluding Enugu) have passed child rights legislation, which
can be used to further protect underage trafficking victims by
strengthening cases against traffickers and enforcing the rights of
victims. However, awareness of this law is low, said Okoronkwo. The
Ministry of Women's Affairs has convened a Child Rights Law
Implementation Committee to help address these issues. Family
courts, another mechanism to protect underage victims and ensure
speedy justice, have been established in Abia and Anambra. In Enugu,
the previous Assembly considered but did not pass Child Rights
legislation before the end of the term. The current Assembly may
take up the matter this year, Okoronkwo said.

------------------------------------
Southeast NAPTIP Growing in Capacity
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Established in June 2006, the Southeast zonal office, like
other zonal NAPTIP offices, is hampered by inadequate and irregular
funding, Okoronkwo told PolOffs. Its eight investigators lack
resources and face an increasing work load. In December 2007, the
office opened a shelter to house victims, and holding cells for male
and female traffickers were refurbished. The NAPTIP office provides
counseling and vocational training for victims. Since its inception,
the office has received 60 reports of trafficking, investigated 42 of
those, and obtained two convictions of those cases that went to
court, Okoronkwo stated. Six more cases are currently being tried.
Current investigations involve hotels in Enugu and Abia that keep
prostitutes on call for customers and a neonatal unit of a nearby
hospital accused of selling babies.

6. (SBU) Okoronkwo characterized NAPTIP's working relationship with
the Ministry of Women's Affairs as good and said NAPTIP works well
with the police, although the constant rotation of police leadership
means it takes considerable effort to maintain that relationship.
State-level stakeholder meetings occur quarterly, Okoronkwo claimed,
although budget constraints limit the number of people who can
participate. The Ebonyi and Enugu stakeholders (police, state

LAGOS 00000202 002 OF 002


commissions, NGOs, and community leaders) are especially good at
reporting to her, Okoronkwo stated, but Abia's stakeholders are more
difficult to get together.

7. (SBU) Comment: Although the newest of the NAPTIP zonal offices,
the Southeast office appears have a sophisticated approach to the
region's particular trafficking patterns. While poverty alleviation
is a crucial part of addressing the issue, the office clearly lacks
the resources to implement needed programs. The Southeast zonal
office's efforts to maintain good relationships with other government
entities and stakeholders were better than many we have encountered.
End Comment.

This cable has been cleared by Embassy Abuja.
HUDSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC