U.S.-Funded Program Advances Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking in Nigeria

Lagos––From March 9-10, Nigerian judicial officers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials participated in a U.S.-funded retreat in Lagos focused on improving the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.

: United States Consul General Claire Pierangelo (fifth left) with a cross section of participants at the opening ceremony of the program on Tuesday.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the retreat provided an opportunity for members of the judiciary and prosecutors at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, to discuss admissibility of electronic evidence in human trafficking cases under Nigerian law.

Over the course of the two-day retreat, participants engaged in a robust dialogue on witness management and protection and shared best practices and insights on broad areas of prosecuting and adjudicating human trafficking cases under the Nigerian judicial system.

United States Consul General Claire Pierangelo noted that the retreat was a key component of a U.S.-funded rule of law project introduced in 2018 titled, “Strengthen the Capacities of State and Non-State Institutions to Assist, Support and Protect Victims of Trafficking (VoT) in Nigeria.”

“We are proud of our continued partnership with the Government of Nigeria with its continued efforts to build upon its successes in ensuring trafficking of persons and smuggling of migrant cases are prosecuted effectively and fairly and those convicted receive the appropriate penalties,” Consul General Pierangelo said.

She explained that under this project, the U.S. government in partnership with the UNODC Nigeria, has been providing support to the Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Justice, NAPTIP and Nigeria Immigration Service, as well as civil society groups in different thematic areas of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

The project, Consul General Pierangelo added, has recorded some remarkable achievements such as the establishment of a judiciary resource center at NAPTIP headquarters in Abuja that provides officers access to relevant tools and resources when investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons cases.

Other key accomplishments include support for the establishment of state task forces against human trafficking across the country and the development of a series of awareness materials on trafficking in persons produced for travel agents, airport personnel, flight crews, and passengers.