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A report in the Nigerian Guardian newspaper tells us that, as of 2016, the Nigerian government identified 943 trafficking victims, including 429 victims of sex trafficking and 514 of labour trafficking. According to the US State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report for Nigeria, “Nigerian women and girls—primarily from Benin City in Edo State—are subjected to forced prostitution in Italy, while Nigerian women and girls from other states are subjected to forced prostitution in Spain, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Russia. Nigerian women and children are also recruited and transported to destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, where they are held captive in the sex trade or in forced labour.”
The paper went on to add that Nigerian women and children are also taken from Nigeria to other West and Central African countries, as well as to South Africa, where they are exploited for the same purposes. It pointed out that in order to prevent trafficking, there is need for specialized training on proactive victim identification among vulnerable populations. Investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, information sharing, counselling, intelligence collection, and monitoring and evaluation of existing programmes should also be imbibed. This will include a national concerted effort among lawmakers, immigration officials, social service providers, judges, Nigerian police, and prosecutors to improve protection to potential victims and assistance to trafficking victims, both within Nigeria and abroad. Furthermore, it pointed out that there is need for raised awareness of trafficking among the public. This involves sensitizing vulnerable groups such as children and women who are most likely to be trafficked, sharpening the public awareness of trends and schemes traffickers use to lure victims, educating parents of the warning signs of environments conducive for trafficking activity, and encouraging community members to participate in efforts to prevent trafficking.