Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nigeria

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nigeria, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 29 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Nigeria (Tier 2 Watch List)

Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked women and children. Nigerians are trafficked to Europe, the Middle East, and other countries in Africa for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation. Nigerian girls and women are trafficked for forced prostitution to Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Cote D'Ivoire, and South Africa. Nigerian children are trafficked for involuntary domestic labor and street hawking within Nigeria and to countries in West and Central Africa. Nigeria is a destination country for Togolese, Beninese, Ghanaian, and Cameroonian children trafficked for forced labor.

The Government of Nigeria does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Nigeria is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List because of the continued significant complicity of Nigerian security personnel in trafficking and the lack of evidence of increasing efforts to address this complicity. Unlike other governments in the region, the Nigerian Government does not face severe resource constraints, yet it commits inadequate funding and personnel to the fight against Nigeria's serious trafficking problem. Nigeria is to be commended for its new anti-trafficking law and the new central government anti-trafficking in persons law enforcement unit created by that law. The government should move quickly to implement the new law through vigorous high court prosecutions of corrupt officials and traffickers; it should also give adequate support to the new anti-trafficking agency and improve protection facilities or funding for NGO protection activities.


The criminal provisions in the comprehensive anti-trafficking law passed in June 2003 remain untested, although the government created the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), as the law mandates, in August of the same year. However, Nigerian courts prosecuted no traffickers during the last year. The Nigerian Police reported 98 arrests of trafficking suspects, 44 of who remain under investigation. There were no known prosecutions during the last year and anti-trafficking efforts among the states appeared to diminish considerably over the reporting period. Reports indicated that government officials, particularly police and immigration and border officials, facilitate the trafficking of women and children; there is no discernible commitment to address this trafficking-related corruption. This corruption is reportedly very high, impeding the identification and prosecution of traffickers. In the one significant anti-trafficking enforcement action during the last year, Nigerian immigration authorities rescued and repatriated about 400 Beninese children enslaved in rock quarries in Ogun and Osun States. Authorities arrested six traffickers in this case, but later released the criminals after a traditional ruler in the area intervened. The government does not monitor its borders adequately. In November 2003, the Nigerian Attorney General signed an anti-trafficking law enforcement memorandum of understanding with the Italian government's Anti-Mafia Bureau.


The central government provides minimal funding for protection activities, but refers cases to IOM and local NGOs that operate shelters in Lagos, Abuja, and several southern states. The federal government has mounted no national effort to assist with the shelter and training of trafficking victims. Several state governments in the south of Nigeria continued strong efforts to protect victims. Imo State's government repatriated 29 victims from Gabon during the year. Edo and Abia States ran skills acquisition centers for trafficking victims. The Akwa Ibom state government worked with the Government of Cameroon to effect the repatriation of Nigerian children trafficked there. During the last year, Nigeria's immigration service assisted in the repatriation of 10,703 victims of trafficking and identified some girls and women trafficked to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj. Witness protections do not exist. Trafficking victims repatriated from abroad are usually provided shelter, but the police often house internal trafficking victims in jails. Sex trafficking victims returned from abroad are usually forcibly tested for HIV/AIDS; the results of these tests are not kept confidential.


The central government made little effort to sponsor or coordinate efforts to prevent new incidents of trafficking during the last year, though the NAPTIP in 2003 established a Stakeholders Forum comprising various governmental ministries and UN agencies. State governments made significant prevention efforts during the last year; Imo, Abia, and Cross-Rivers States conducted awareness and sensitization campaigns among at-risk populations using documentary films and by working through women leaders in and outside of the government.

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