The 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report has revealed that the dreaded Islamist sect, Boko Haram gives out their captives, especially the young girls and women to its members as wives.
The report also revealed that due to the forced marriages, the girls and women are forced into sex slavery, domestic servitude as well as forced labour.
According to a 2013 report that was obtained from the website of the United States Department of State- www.state.gov, on Tuesday, though posted on June 20, it was also discovered that the Islamist sect recruited children as foot soldiers.
“International observers had reported in 2013 that the terrorist group, Boko Haram, recruited and used child soldiers as young as 12-years-old, as well as abducted women and girls some of whom were subjected to domestic servitude, forced labour, and sex slavery through forced marriages to its militants” the report states.
The report noted that Nigeria is yet to fully adhere to the smallest standards aimed at eradicating human trafficking, although the federal government is currently making positive efforts in doing so by increasing anti-trafficking prosecutions and convictions.
Related: Boko Haram Abducts 91 Persons, Kills 4 In Borno
It said the federal government was providing extensive specialised anti-trafficking training to officials from relevant ministries and agencies, noting that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other -Related Matters had stepped up protection efforts through its formal referral mechanism for victim’s protection.
The report which also noted that the agency had increased its capacity of shelters as well as identified and provided needed services to most of the victims said: “Despite these efforts, 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, with the exception of receiving training from NAPTIP, the Ministry of Labour did not make any new efforts to address labour trafficking during the reporting period”.
“Additionally, despite the growing number of Nigerian trafficking victims identified abroad, the government has yet to implement formal procedures for the return and reintegration of Nigerian victims; consequently, many victims are not afforded adequate care upon their return to Nigeria” it added.
It stressed that the development needed to be urgently addressed as some European countries deny Nigerian victim’s asylum and access to European victim programmes. It further observed that the provisions of the 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, ensured that identified trafficking victims were not penalised for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
According to the report, government officials encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, adding that NAPTIP reported that 32 victims served as witnesses while some gave evidence during trial in the period under review.
It said all trafficked victims are entitled funds from the victim’s trust fund which is financed primarily through confiscated assets of convicted traffickers. It also disclosed that in 2013, the sum of $20,000 was disbursed to 47 victims for different purposes ranging from vocational training to tuition.
The report, however, pointed out that the Nigerian government provided a limited legal alternative, short term residency that could not be extended to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they might face hardship or retribution. It described Nigeria as a source, transit and destination for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex, adding that most trafficked victims are gotten from rural and urban areas of the country.
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