U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nigeria

Nigeria (Tier 2)

Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked persons, predominantly women and children. Nigerians are trafficked to Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of Africa for forced labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation. Nigerian women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, particularly to Italy, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Cote D'Ivoire, and South Africa. Nigerian children are trafficked primarily for domestic labor within Nigeria and throughout West and Central Africa. Children from neighboring Togo, Benin, Ghana, and Cameroon are trafficked to Nigeria for forced labor.

The Government of Nigeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. More vigorous law enforcement response to all forms of trafficking, better protection efforts including a systematic repatriation network for trafficked children, and serious efforts against any officials found complicit would improve Nigeria's anti-trafficking efforts.


Nigeria is withdrawing children from the worst forms of child labor through international and regional programs to eliminate child labor and combat trafficking in persons. Several ministries sponsor information campaigns on child rights and child labor. Federal, state, and local government support active child rights clubs in schools. Several state governments are implementing aggressive public awareness campaigns about the dangers of child trafficking and trafficking to Europe. These campaigns include radio and television announcements, talk shows, documentaries, dramas, leaflets, briefings in local government areas, and augmented school curricula. The Nigerian Immigration Service's newly created human trafficking unit carried out a sensitization campaign throughout the year that included meetings with governors, legislators, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and educators in trafficking-prone states.


The Senate passed a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in March 2003. Anti-trafficking police units were created in 11 trafficking-afflicted states. The federal police anti-trafficking unit in Edo State, the primary source state for women trafficked to Italy, is actively investigating 100 cases, with 30 being prosecuted. One case involved a high chief, who was subsequently stripped of his title pending trial. The State Security Service intercepts victims and arrests traffickers. A 12-person trafficking syndicate was caught processing false documents and subsequently dismantled. A former customs officer and two others suspected of child trafficking are under investigation. A high-profile break-up of a Nigerian trafficking ring operating in Guinea fell apart after witnesses failed to testify without protection. Immigration authorities record 20 cases of child trafficking each month, but lack of equipment, logistical problems, and corruption hamper their effectiveness in processing cases to conclusion. Progress in monitoring child labor has been slow but noticeable and is overseen by a child labor office in the Ministry of Employment, Productivity, and Labor.


The government provides support to international and NGOs, which protect victims. Nigerian embassies in destination countries, particularly Gabon, provide assistance to victims, and the foreign ministry created a high-level position to facilitate victim repatriation. Regional centers to monitor child rights violations have been established. Witness protection remains weak; family involvement in trafficking also makes it difficult to protect victims.


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