U.S. says Nigeria’s fight against human trafficking improving but corruption still high in the judiciary and immigration services

The United States government on Thursday released its 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, announcing that although Nigeria’s fight against human trafficking has improved over the past one year, corruption remains significant in the judiciary and immigration services.

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The U.S. government concluded that the Nigerian government did not meet the minimum standards in several key human trafficking areas.

For instance, members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Borno State used two children at an IDP camp checkpoint while there continued to be reports of sex trafficking in government-run IDP camps. Nigerian officials also prosecuted fewer suspected traffickers.

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“Corruption remained a significant concern in the judiciary and immigration services, and the Ministry of Defense did not finalize its handover protocol to refer child soldiers to care for the sixth consecutive year,” the report said.

Despite those lapses, the U.S. gave Nigeria a positive review, saying in its report released in Washington D.C. that “the government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Nigeria was upgraded to Tier 2.”

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The efforts included convicting more traffickers and sanctioning the majority of perpetrators with significant prison terms; prosecuting officials suspected of being complicit in trafficking crimes; improving intra-governmental coordination on anti-trafficking operations; launching nine new state task forces; and for the first time, the Ministry of Defense acknowledged service members sexually exploited internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In addition, Nigerian officials also increased collaboration with foreign governments on international trafficking investigations.

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