The Government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Nigeria remained on Tier 2. These efforts included investigating more traffickers, including officials allegedly complicit in trafficking crimes, and increasing prosecutions and convictions; identifying more victims and referring all identified victims to care; and finalizing and implementing the handover protocol to refer child soldiers, including some trafficking victims, to care. The government updated its national referral mechanism (NRM) to include guidance on assisting persons with disabilities and adopted a disability inclusion plan to better serve trafficking victims. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Corruption remained a significant concern in the judiciary and immigration services, and it contributed to impunity for traffickers. The government did not investigate or prosecute any members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) for prior forced recruitment or use of child soldiers; potential sex trafficking in government-run IDP camps continued.
The Nigerian goverment should:
- Hold complicit officials as well as individuals affiliated with the government – including security officials and CJTF members – criminally accountable for trafficking offenses, including for the sex trafficking of IDPs and past forced recruitment or use of child soldiers.
- Strengthen efforts to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as children in religious schools, IDPs, returning migrants, and children in domestic service.
- Facilitate training for local, state, and federal judges on human trafficking and the 2015 anti-trafficking law, specifically the provision prohibiting the issuance of fines in lieu of imprisonment in collaboration with international partners.
- Expand shelter capacity for identified victims in coordination with other government entities, civil society, NGOs, international organizations, and the private sector.
- Increase public awareness programming to educate more of the population on human trafficking indicators.
- Enhance coordination between National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on law enforcement efforts – and prosecute suspects while respecting the rights of the accused.
- Identify and implement mechanisms to ensure victims are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
- Increase the budget committed to NAPTIP and anti-trafficking efforts.
- Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers – especially labor traffickers, including those who force children to beg – and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms.
- Enhance methods of record keeping for trafficking cases, including data on convictions and sentencing.
from 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – U.S. Department of State
2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State