Nigeria yet to implement human trafficking act – Report
Nigeria has remained a Tier 2 Country, according to the 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released on Friday by the United States Office to Monitor and Combat TIP.
According to the report, countries on Tier 2 ranking are those whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
The report which was unveiled by the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, is congressionally mandated and looks at efforts of governments globally at combating trafficking in persons.
The report noted that although the Federal Government did not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it was making significant efforts to do so.
It stated that during the reporting period, the government demonstrated an increase in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts by increasing the number of trafficking investigations, prosecutions and convictions.
It also said that the government made efforts by providing extensive specialised anti-trafficking training to officials from various government ministries and agencies.
“The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) increased protection efforts by developing a formal referral mechanism for victim protection.
“It also increases the capacity of its shelters, identifying and providing services to a larger number of victims.”
The report commended the efforts of NAPTIP under the leadership of its Executive Secretary, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba.
“Under her leadership, NAPTIP has become a model throughout Africa for coordination of government anti-trafficking efforts.
“Her work has resulted in the incorporation of human trafficking issues into national development discourse and planning.
“She has improved NAPTIP’s relationships with critical partners in Nigeria’s anti-trafficking response, such as local and international NGOs and foreign governments.
“Mrs Jedy-Agba also has initiated human trafficking public awareness campaigns to increase understanding and mobilise the general public,” it said.
It, however, said that despite the efforts made, the government had yet to pass the draft legislation that would restrict the ability of judges to offer fines in lieu of prison time during sentencing.
It added that the Ministry of Labour did not make any new efforts to address labour trafficking during the reporting period with the exception of receiving training from NAPTIP.
The report recommended that the draft anti-trafficking bill be passed and implemented.
The bill, when passed into law, is expected to amend the anti-trafficking law to give prosecutors more authority and restrict the ability of judges to offer fines in lieu of prison time during sentencing.
It also recommended authorities involved to ensure continuous pursuit of trafficking investigations, prosecutions of trafficking offences, and adequate sentences for convicted traffickers, including imprisonment whenever appropriate.
Other African countries that are ranked Tier 2 include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi and Mauritius.
Others are Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
No African country ranked Tier 1, while other African countries are either on the Tier 2 Watch list or Tier 3.
Tier 1 countries are those whose governments fully comply with the minimum standards of the TVPA.
Tier 3 countries are countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.