U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nigeria

Nigeria (Tier 2)

Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Within Nigeria, women and girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation and boys for forced begging by religious teachers, forced street hawking, and labor exploitation in agriculture, mining, stone quarries, and as domestic labor. Transnationally, women, girls, and boys are trafficked to Nigeria from other West and Central African countries and from Nigeria to neighboring countries for the same purposes listed above. Nigerian women and girls are also trafficked to North Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Europe, most notably Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Norway, and in small numbers to the United States, for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.

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. The Nigerian government continues to show a clear commitment to anti-trafficking reforms. To improve its response to trafficking, Nigeria should: increase convictions of trafficking offenders; provide improved care for trafficking victims; offer expanded legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution; and ensure that the rights of foreign victims are respected.


The Government of Nigeria continued to combat trafficking through modest law enforcement efforts during the last year. Nigeria prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, which was amended in 2005 to increase penalties for traffickers, and its 2003 Child Rights Act. Prescribed penalties of five years' imprisonment for labor trafficking, 10 years' imprisonment for trafficking children for forced begging or hawking, and a maximum of life imprisonment for sex trafficking are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. During the last year, the government reported 81 trafficking investigations, 23 prosecutions, and three convictions. Sentences imposed on traffickers were inadequate, however. Two convicted traffickers received two years' imprisonment, while the third was sentenced to only one year in prison. Two of the convictions were for sex trafficking, while the third was for child trafficking for forced begging. Responding to reports of authorities issuing fraudulent travel documentation, the government in September 2006 replaced its documentation staff and is prosecuting the suspects for fraud.


The Government of Nigeria demonstrated steady efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year. NAPTIP continued to provide victims with short-term care in shelters in Lagos, Abuja, Benin City, Sokoto, Kano and Uyo, assisting 352 victims during the year. Although the government doubled its funding for anti-trafficking efforts in the last year, NAPTIP shelters are often short on food supplies and provide insufficient victim reintegration assistance. NAPTIP sometimes refers victims to UNICEF, IOM, or NGOs for reintegration assistance. The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations by providing foreign victims with short-term residency and care and by routinely requesting victims' testimony against traffickers. Nigeria provides a limited legal alternative to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution – short-term residency that cannot be extended. Although victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, the government places foreign victims in shelters under guard until they are repatriated.


The Government of Nigeria demonstrated solid efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. NAPTIP continued to host quarterly trafficking stakeholder forums for government, NGO, international organization and donor representatives. The government continued to raise awareness about trafficking through posters, public forums, and radio and television spots. One campaign, for example, included billboards outside major airports and radio jingles. In 2006, Nigeria developed a national action plan against trafficking, which awaits presidential approval.


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