U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Niger
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Niger, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8a41c.html [accessed 23 July 2014]|
Niger (Tier 2)
Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for children, women, and men trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked within Niger for forced begging by religious teachers, manual labor, domestic servitude, work in mines, and sexual exploitation. Internationally, children are trafficked to Niger for labor exploitation from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Women and girls are also trafficked from Niger to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for forced domestic labor and sexual exploitation. Men are also trafficked through Niger to North Africa for forced labor. Traditional forms of caste-based servitude, rooted in ancestral masterslave relationships, also continue in isolated areas of the country. Between 10,000 and 43,000 Nigeriens are estimated to live in conditions of traditional servitude, which range in practice from societal discrimination to outright 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. Later in the reporting period, Niger demonstrated an increased willingness to acknowledge its problem with caste-based servitude. To strengthen its response to trafficking, Niger should increase efforts to educate the public about the continuing problem of caste-based servitude and the law prohibiting it, continue to enforce this legislation, draft and pass specific anti-trafficking legislation, and strengthen victim protection efforts.
The Government of Niger made modest efforts to punish trafficking crimes during the reporting period. Niger lacks specific anti-trafficking legislation and the government did not report any convictions during the last year. A Nigerien law enacted in 2004 prohibits slavery and related practices. The government is prosecuting two slavery cases and two additional cases are under investigation. Another slavery case was dismissed in court due to a procedural technicality. The Ministry of Justice organized a three-day seminar to launch the drafting of a trafficking statute. In partnership with NGOs, the government trained 209 law enforcement officers about trafficking. Border police barred from entry into Niger several religious leaders traveling with children but without parental consent documents. Officials also barred 32 children from leaving Niger for planned travel to Ghana without parental consent forms. Niger entered into a multi-lateral agreement to combat trafficking with eight other West African nations, and the Ministry of Justice sought and obtained UN assistance in drafting an anti-trafficking law.
The government showed modest progress in providing protection to trafficking victims, despite its limited resources. The government also collaborated with the UNFPA on a program designed in part to reduce child trafficking. In partnership with IOM, the government began the initial stage of a victim assistance project. While the government has no formal screening and referral process to transfer victims to NGOs for care, police commonly refer trafficking victims to local and international NGOs. A local anti-slavery NGO reported that police who find escaped slaves regularly bring them to the NGO for assistance.
The government made limited efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. In February 2006, the government established by presidential decree a National Commission for the Control of Trafficking in Persons comprised of key government ministries and seven NGOs, including the nation's leading anti-slavery organization. The government also designated the Ministry of Justice as the lead agency on trafficking. The government collaborated with NGOs to launch a U.S. Government-funded radio soap opera about child trafficking; it also partnered with Dutch affiliates to organize a public education session on trafficking. Several times during the year the government publicly denied the problem of slavery and related practices. It also obstructed a large-scale NGO effort to raise awareness about slavery by canceling a public celebration of the release of 7,000 slaves in March 2005. At the release of a book on slavery by an anti-slavery activist in January 2006, however, the Minister of Culture gave a televised address acknowledging the existence of slavery and praising the activist for drawing attention to it.