Cablegate: Vatican Anti-Tip Conference: Nigerian Role?

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Post read reftel with interest and applauds Embassy
Vatican's initiative in organizing an international
conference on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in collaboration
with the Vatican Secretariat, G/TIP and PD/IIP.

2. We would like to suggest that the issue of Nigerian
trafficking be included in the conference agenda. Italy is
the largest destination for women and girls trafficked from
Nigeria for sexual exploitation in Europe. An estimated
18-20,000 Nigerian women and girls are currently in a
trafficked situation in Italy. The Italian government has
embarked on a program of assistance (estimated at $4 million)
to improve law enforcement efforts against the traffickers
behind this trade and to help efforts to repatriate and
reintegrate rescued TIP victims. (Note. On March 1 the
Italian government repatriated 156 Nigerian girls and women
to Lagos aboard two chartered aircraft. End Note.) Post
discusses this issue regularly with the Italian Ambassador to
Nigeria, who desires greater U.S.-Italian collaboration on
anti-TIP efforts. G/TIP officers are aware of late 2000
bilateral discussions in Washington on this initiative, which
we would like to see advanced.

3. In addition, CARITAS and Catholic NGO Community Pope John
XXIII are involved in addressing the Nigeria-to-Italy TIP
problem. In February 2001 the Nigerian NGO "WOTCLEF (Women
Trafficking and Child Labor Eradication Foundation)" led by
its founder, the wife of the Nigerian Vice-President, hosted
a regional TIP conference at which the President of Community
Pope John XXIII, Don Oreste Benzi, spoke on the NGO's efforts
to assist with the rescue and repatriation of Nigerian girls
and women trafficked to Italy.

4. We would appreciate Embassy Vatican's consideration of the
Nigerian TIP issue as an agenda item in the upcoming May
conference. Also, if appropriate, conference organizers
might consider inviting a Government of Nigeria
representative, particularly Michael Mku, President
Obasanjo's Special Assistant for Trafficking in Persons and
Child Labor.

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