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NIGERIA REMAINS ON TIER 2 ON U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT’S 2024 TIP REPORT

June 24, 2024- WASHINGTON, D.C. The United State Department of State has released its 2024 Trafficking in Persons Report which ranks countries based on their respective government’s response to human trafficking in the preceding year. Nigeria remains a Tier 2 Country (Tier 2 are countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to comply with those standards.)

Brief Summary:

According to the Report’s Executive Summary on Nigeria: “The Government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period; therefore, Nigeria remained on Tier 2. These efforts included convicting two complicit officials for the first time in four years; increasing collaboration with foreign counterparts on anti-trafficking law enforcement activities; and implementing the handover protocol to refer children associated with armed groups, including trafficking victims, to care. In an effort to improve the quality of victim services and ensure uniformity in standards of care, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) finalized and launched minimum standards and guidelines for service providers assisting trafficking victims. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Corruption involving trafficking crimes, including among NAPTIP officials and the judiciary, remained significant concerns and contributed to impunity for traffickers. The government investigated and prosecuted fewer cases compared with the previous reporting period. Efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, especially IDPs, women and children allegedly associated with armed groups, and children exploited in begging in religious schools, were insufficient.”

Detailed Summary:

The Report’s prioritized recommendations for Nigeria include:

According to the report, Nigeria has maintained law enforcement efforts in connection with prosecution. However, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes were described as “significant concerns” which potentially served to inhibit law enforcement during the reporting year.

It is noteworthy that the government, in partnership with international donors and civil society organizations, provided training for law enforcement officials, security forces, and prosecutors on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting human trafficking cases. However, the government failed to organize any anti-trafficking training programs for judges, which observers noted hindered prosecutions due to a lack of judicial awareness and understanding of the anti-trafficking legislation. Nevertheless, the Judicial Research Center of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Abuja offered resources to NAPTIP officers to enhance trafficking cases and support prosecution efforts.

More specifically, “the government identified and referred to services 1,194 trafficking victims, including 654 sex trafficking victims and 540 labor trafficking victims; this compared with identifying and referring to services 1,384 sex and labor trafficking victims the previous reporting period. Of the 1,194 victims, 856 were women, 176 were girls, 119 were men, and 39 were boys. The government also reported identifying 184 potential victims. The government and partner NGOs provided services to all identified victims”.

NAPTIP operated 14 shelters across its 10 zonal commands, providing a safe haven for 1,587 victims of human trafficking. The government provided critical support services to these victims, including legal, medical, psycho-social, family reunification, and vocational services. The government also offered victim-witness assistance, enabling 40 victims to participate in criminal proceedings. To protect victims’ privacy and safety, courts allowed testimony in private chambers or via video.

Notably, the government’s new handover protocol facilitated the transfer of at least 53 children associated with armed groups to protection actors, a significant improvement in collaboration with international organizations. noted the military was more expeditiously transferring children following the protocol’s adoption.

More specifically, it recognizes NAPTIP’s efforts in combatting trafficking; ‘conducting national and state-level awareness raising campaigns, including radio and social media campaigns. NAPTIP continued a monthly social media program to discuss trafficking topics with targeted audiences, produced an anti-trafficking television program, and held awareness raising activities in coordination with NGOs. Awareness campaigns were conducted in all three major Nigerian languages and used print, electronic, and social media. Some policy documents were available in braille. The government had all campaign materials reviewed by trafficking experts, including survivors, and campaign content was community-dependent. Stakeholders noted a need for additional awareness-raising in rural areas most commonly targeted by traffickers. The government provided anti-trafficking training to foreign diplomats in Nigeria on trafficking issues. NAPTIP Sokoto state zonal command conducted awareness activities on child forced begging and protection of Almajiri children. The government did not regulate Quranic schools to prevent child forced begging or abuse.’

To read the full report on Nigeria, visit:  https://www.state.gov/reports/2024-trafficking-in-persons-report/nigeria/

 

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