U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Niger
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Niger, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3cc23.html [accessed 18 May 2013]|
Niger (Tier 2)
Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked within Niger for forced begging, domestic servitude, mine labor, sexual exploitation, and possibly for agricultural labor. Nigerien children are also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation along the border with Nigeria and are trafficked to Nigeria and Mali for forced begging and manual labor. Women and children from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo are trafficked to and through Niger for domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced labor in mines, on farms, and as mechanics and welders. Nigerien women and children are trafficked from Niger to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Caste-based slavery practices rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships continue in isolated areas of the country. At least 8,800 Nigeriens live in conditions of traditional slavery.
The Government of Niger does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. The Nigerien government increased its modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and drafted an improved trafficking law. To strengthen its response to trafficking, Niger should pass its draft legislation against trafficking, strengthen efforts to prosecute traffickers and slaveholders, provide increased care to former slaves, and adopt its draft national action plans to combat slavery and trafficking.
The Government of Niger increased its law enforcement efforts against trafficking and slavery in the last year. Niger prohibits slavery through its 2003 Article 270 Penal Code amendment, but does not prohibit other forms of trafficking. The prescribed penalty of 10-30 years' imprisonment for slavery is sufficiently stringent. The government in 2006 drafted a law against trafficking, which awaits submission to the Council of Ministers. Although Niger convicted two individuals for enslavement, their imposed sentences, 18 months and one year respectively, were insufficient, although a significant fine of $2,800 was also imposed on one of them. Two slavery prosecutions are pending, one of which has been stalled since 2005. Police arrested nine individuals in Agadez for trafficking 38 children. Six were charged with enslavement, four of whom were later released due to lack of grounds for prosecution. The remaining two are in custody awaiting trial. Police arrested nine additional individuals in Agadez for trafficking of 17 children, but released them after they made a statement of repentance.
The government demonstrated increased efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the year, but provided weak protection to former slaves. Local authorities rescued 38 victims and referred them to UNICEF and NGOs to ensure that they received rehabilitation and intercepted an additional 17 foreign victims whom they referred to NGOs and UNICEF for repatration. The Education Ministry provided and paid education inspectors and teachers to participate in a foreign-funded community school project for trafficking victims and the Labor Ministry paid labor inspectors to provide counseling to employers, children and parents. No government programs targeted the needs of former slaves. The government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking or slavery investigations or prosecutions. The government does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Niger made solid efforts to raise awareness about trafficking and slavery during the reporting period. The government conducted a public awareness campaign against child abuse, which included anti-trafficking elements. Niger continued to collaborate with a foreign donor to air an educational radio soap opera about trafficking. Several government ministries advised on the cultural content of the soap opera to most effectively communicate the message to a Nigerien audience and the Ministry of Communications publicized the soap opera on community radio. Local officials denounced the practice of trafficking in press interviews. The government established a National Commission Against Forced Labor and Discrimination in November 2006. In December 2006, Nigeria and Niger drafted a bilateral agreement to combat trafficking to be signed in 2007. Niger drafted a national action plan against trafficking and, in conjunction with ILO and a foreign donor, drafted a plan to combat forced labor linked to slavery, though the government has yet to formally adopt either plan.