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05LAGOS1204 2005-07-29 07:16:00 UNCLASSIFIED Consulate Lagos
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1. Summary. The GON has convicted two individuals involved
in a trafficking in persons ring in Kano state, northern
Nigeria. Nigeria's National Agency for the Prohibition of
Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) expects at least one more
conviction by year's end. Officials involved in the fight
against trafficking, however, cite stifling court delays,
untrained officers in the field, and difficulties educating
the highest risk groups as major obstacles preventing more
frequent and greater successes. End Summary.

2. In recognition of Nigeria's graduation from the Tier 2
Trafficking in Persons "Watch List," on July 27, the
Ambassador hosted a reception to commend government
officials and non-governmental representatives on their
recent progress and to urge continued diligence in tackling
this serious problem. At the reception, Nigeria's new
Attorney General announced that two traffickers from Kano
State had just been convicted and sentenced, one to a 2-
year, one to a 3-year term, under the same law that sent a
perpetrator from Edo State to jail last November (reftel).
NAPTIP acted on information provided by the Saudi Consulate
in Kano.

3. An agent confirmed that NAPTIP is targeting Kano and Edo
States, the country's busiest transit and source points for
trafficking victims, respectively. He added that NAPTIP had
another clear-cut case from the area ready for prosecution,
but court delays were expected to prevent a final decision
for at least another three months.

4. Other efforts mentioned at the reception include
expanding the operations of anti-trafficking immigration
officials from the current twelve to twenty-four states.
However, the newly appointed director of the program stated
that there were still not enough resources to train and
sensitize all field officers. Officials also asked for
resources to help educate at risk populations in the
country's villages and other hot spots for trafficking

5. Comment: The reception allowed the most important players
from NAPTIP, customs and immigration, the office of the
Presidency, and NGOs to get together and discuss combined
efforts. In facing the obstacles ahead, cooperation is
essential, and the energy exhibited at the meeting is
promising. The Attorney General asked that USAID resume
funding through Democracy and Governance programs to
streamline the courts to allow for more convictions. Public
Outreach programs also need to be expanded to reach at-risk
Nigerians and help undereducated individuals understand that
many sent away ostensibly to earn money, are being
exploited, abused, and detained against their will. End

6. This cable was cleared by Embassy Abuja.