U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Niger
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Niger, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d85a5.html [accessed 21 September 2014]|
Niger (Tier 2 Watch List)
Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor. Nigerien boys are trafficked internally, often by local religious teachers, to work as beggars and manual laborers; Nigerien girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and to engage in prostitution. Foreign children are trafficked into Niger for similar purposes. Nigerien women are trafficked to North Africa and Europe for sexual exploitation, and to North Africa and the Middle East for forced domestic labor. Traffickers lure victims to foreign countries with false marriages or promises of lucrative employment. Nigerien children have also been trafficked to Gabon and Nigeria. Victims are also trafficked to or transit through Niger to other West African countries from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Many families misguidedly surrender their children to distant relatives or religious teachers who then exploit the children. According to a sample survey conducted by an NGO, over one fourth of approximately 1,500 households knew of trafficking in their neighborhood or village, and more than five percent reported that at least one family member had been trafficked. Slavery-related practices, typically flowing from ancestral master-slave relationships, also continue in isolated areas where a barter economy exists.
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. Enactment in April 2004 of an antislavery law with criminal sanctions for a broad range of slavery-like practices, while a move in the right direction, has not resulted in a noticeable reduction in trafficking or appreciable increase in enforcement actions against traffickers. Niger is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its weak efforts to enforce anti-trafficking laws and rescue victims. The government should make good faith efforts to educate officials, communities, and local leaders to prevent trafficking and rescue victims. The government should also prosecute traffickers under existing laws, and consider passing and implementing laws that specifically ban trafficking in persons.
The government's law enforcement efforts remained weak in 2004. Niger's 2003 Anti-Slavery Law entered into force in April 2004, and the government's Human Rights Commission investigated four cases of alleged slavery and human trafficking; no prosecutions or rescues of forced labor victims resulted from these actions. In the absence of a law that specifically prohibits trafficking, a Nigerien court sentenced one individual to three years in prison under kidnapping charges. The government trained 150 law enforcement officers regarding approved travel documents for children crossing borders without their parents. Nigerien officials conducted joint cross-border patrols with Nigeria, Chad, Mali, and Burkina Faso and identified 13 foreign trafficking victims but did not apprehend any traffickers. Corruption of low-level officials was common, but there were no known instances of government officials who participated in or condoned trafficking.
The government ran no shelters to care for trafficking victims and lacked the financial resources to fund or otherwise support foreign or domestic nongovernmental victim assistance. However, government social welfare and police officials referred many of the victims who turned to NGOs for assistance. Authorities worked with the Nigerian government to repatriate 15 Nigerian victims.
The government made limited progress in educating the public about the trafficking situation in Niger. Though lacking a national campaign to combat trafficking, it cooperated in a trafficking survey, continued to conduct seminars for some journalists and community leaders on child abuse and trafficking, and included anti-trafficking elements in campaigns condemning child abuse. The Prime Minister drew attention to the problem of human trafficking in an October 2004 speech to journalists, and government newspapers ran some stories about child beggars. In March 2005, the government began to educate communities about the 2003 Anti-Slavery Law, which took effect in April 2004, and on the rights of victims under the new law.