Press Release: 2013 U.S. Department Of State’s Trafficking In Persons Report Released

By IndepthAfrica
In Nigeria
Jun 20th, 2013
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On June 19, 2013 U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry released the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report in a public event in Washington, D.C.

In the 2013 TIP Report, Nigeria remained in Tier 2 status because the Government of Nigeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so.  The Government of Nigeria slightly increased its efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year.  The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) received a slight increase in funding in 2012.  NAPTIP made improvements in its anti-TIP efforts over the last reporting period, including a modest increase in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and the provision of specialized anti-trafficking training for its officials.  NAPTIP’s Public Enlightenment Unit continued to conduct national and local programming through radio and print media in all regions of the country to raise awareness about trafficking, including warning about fraudulent recruitment for jobs abroad. 

It is important to note, however, that the TIP Report does not simply measure the efforts of NAPTIP as an agency, but rather the Government of Nigeria as whole.  Despite the notable efforts of NAPTIP, the government has not yet satisfied all the minimum standards set forth in the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA) to justify an upgrade to Tier 1.  For example, the government has yet to pass draft legislation that would restrict the ability of judges to offer fines in lieu of prison time during sentencing, and the Nigerian Police Force continues to experience difficulty identifying trafficking victims.  Additionally, the Ministry of Labor did not make any new efforts to address labor trafficking during the reporting period, despite the identification of a significant number of labor trafficking victims.

The Nigerian government has been urged, among other remedial measures, to ensure NAPTIP receives sufficient funding; to take proactive measures to investigate and prosecute government officials suspected of trafficking-related corruption and complicity in trafficking offenses; and to train police and immigration officials to identify trafficking victims.

TIP Report Background:  The U.S. Congress, through its passage of the TVPA, requires the Secretary of State to submit an annual Report to Congress with the goal of stimulating action and creating global partnerships in the fight against modern-day slavery.  The U.S. Government follows the TVPA and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (commonly known as the “Palermo Protocol”).  Nigeria signed the Palermo Protocol in 2000.  The TVPA and the Palermo Protocol recognize that the crime of human trafficking includes obtaining or maintaining victims’ labor or services (including in the “sex industry”) through force, fraud, or coercion, whether overt or through psychological manipulation.

Countries determined to be a country of origin, transit, or destination for at least two victims of severe forms of trafficking are included in the Report and assigned to one of three tiers.  Countries assessed as fully complying with the “minimum standards for the elimination of severe forms of trafficking” set forth in the TVPA are classified as Tier 1.  Countries assessed as not fully complying with the minimum standards, but making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those minimum standards are classified as Tier 2.  Countries assessed as neither complying with the minimum standards nor making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance are classified as Tier 3.

United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, Public Affairs Section,
Plot 1075, Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja.
Telephone: 09-461-4000. Website at http://nigeria.usembassy.gov

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