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Cablegate: New Resolve to Fight Trafficking in Persons

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001916

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


DEPT FOR G/TIP


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KWMN NI
SUBJECT: NEW RESOLVE TO FIGHT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS


1. (SBU) Summary: A sudden surge in Nigerian law
enforcement efforts against child trafficking has drawn
greater attention to the magnitude of this problem in the
region while also reflecting improved political will to
crack down on trafficking crimes in general. End Summary.


Rescue, Repatriation of Trafficked Beninese Children
--------------------------------------------- -------


2. (SBU) Nigerian Police in three separate actions in
September and October raided stone quarry work camps in the
Southwestern states of Oyo, Ogun and Osun, discovering a
total of 310 Beninese boys, ages 4 through 15, held in slave-
like conditions and forced to break rocks at these quarries.
According to Mrs. Elizabeth Akinmoyo, the Special Assistant
to President on Human Trafficking, the rescues of these two
groups of children are the product of a Memorandum of
Understanding signed between Nigeria and Benin on August 14.
This agreement allows for the sharing of intelligence and
joint law enforcement operations against human traffickers
and other crime groups operating across the border.


3. (SBU) In addition the rescue and return of the Benin
boys, six Beninese traffickers responsible for the
children's enslavement were arrested and extradited to
Benin, according to press reports. (Comment: this is a
casual use of the term "extradition" as the traffickers did
not go through any formal judicial proceedings. End
Comment)


New Anti-Trafficking Agency Taking Shape
----------------------------------------


4. (SBU) Nigeria's new federal anti-TIP act, signed into
law by President Obasanjo on July 14, 2003, creates an Anti-
Trafficking Agency to enforce the law's provisions. In
September the President appointed Mrs. Carol Ndaguba as the
first head of the "National Agency for Prohibition of
Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP)." In an October 13 meeting with
POLOFF, Ndaguba described her plans for the Agency. After
obtaining an initial allotment of funds necessary to house
the Agency in permanent quarters, she will focus on staffing
the Investigations and Legal/Prosecution divisions with
investigators seconded from the Police and Prosecutors from
the Ministry of Justice.


5. (SBU) The former Director of Public Prosecutions in the
Ministry of Justice, Ndaguba has emphasized the need for the
fledging Agency to develop a clear lead on all law
enforcement investigations and prosecutions of TIP crimes.
In an October 29 meeting with POLOFF and RNLEO, she stated
that she intends to push the Police and Immigration Service
to move their existing (and competing) anti-TIP units to the
new Agency, though she acknowledged there will likely be
some resistance over turf issues.


New Presidential Advisor on TIP
-------------------------------


6. (SBU) In a separate meeting, President Obasanjo's newly
appointed Special Assistant for Human Trafficking, Elizabeth
Akinmoyo, described her plans to centralize the GON's anti-
TIP efforts through her office's effective coordination of
policy and programs. She will also seek to coordinate
disparate foreign assistance projects through her office,
using an existing donor coordination committee among UN
agencies towards this goal. Akinmoyo asked and received
from POLOFF a list of USG-funded efforts in Nigeria. She
expressed a desire to work closely with the Embassy in
designing future projects. A particular coordination
project she is now tackling is the need to consolidate law
enforcement efforts currently spread out among police and
immigration units under the authority and control of the new
NAPTIP, a task she claims she will accomplish through the
President's intercession.


COMMENT
-------


7.(SBU) Nigeria's anti-TIP efforts appear to be growing,
thanks to strengthened political will to tackle this serious
problem -- shown through the July passage of Nigeria's TIP
law -- and to assistance from the USG and other donors.
The new agency appears to be under good management and
enjoying strong support from the new Presidential assistant.
Its effectiveness in prosecuting traffickers will take time
to develop; a key factor will be whether the NAPTIP can
recruit and develop a core of dedicated investigators and
prosecutors who can be trained on anti-TIP crimes and
investigations.


MEECE

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