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United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
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Cite as:  UKAIT 46,  UKAIT 00046
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PO (Trafficked Women) Nigeria CG  UKAIT 00046
Date of hearing: 6th November 2008, 7th January 2009, 13th January 2009
Date Determination notified: 23 November 2009
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
(1) In general terms, women and girls in Nigeria do not face a real risk of serious harm from human traffickers, but the risk is heightened for females under 40 years of age living in suburban areas with a poor level of education. However, where it can be shown that an individual does face a real risk of being forced or coerced into prostitution by traffickers, the issue of whether she will be able to access effective protection from the authorities will need to be carefully considered in the light of background evidence.
(2) There is in general no real risk of a trafficking victim being re-trafficked on return to Nigeria unless it is established that those responsible for the victim's initial trafficking formed part of a gang whose members were to share in the victim's earnings or a proportion of the victim's target earnings in circumstances where the victim fails to earn those target earnings. It is essential that the circumstances surrounding the victim's initial trafficking are carefully examined.
Basis of the appellant's claim to asylum
"1. The appellant, represented today by Ms Chandran, is a young Nigerian woman who was brought to this country by a man who I think can be briefly and accurately described as a Nigerian gangster, for the purposes of enforced prostitution. After months of repeated rape she escaped and, with the help of the Poppy Project, sought refuge and protection here. Her reward has been the decision of the Home Office to send her back to Nigeria.
2. An Immigration Judge (Mrs Malins) allowed her appeal, holding her entitled to both refugee and humanitarian protection. The Home Office's appeal to the AIT, however, secured a reconsideration on all issues except certain specified facts which had been determined by Mrs Malins in the appellant's favour. Although it now appears from the pink form (as it is called) that the reconsideration was formally directed to be before a panel of two Immigration Judges, one of them to be a Senior or Designated Immigration Judge, in the event it was re-heard by a single Immigration Judge, Mr Grant (sic) who reached a decision opposite to that of Immigration Judge Malins.
3. This question of the constitution of the Tribunal, in my view, itself calls for investigation. In the reasons given by the judges conducting the first stage of the reconsideration decision, at paragraph 21, reference is made to 'a full stage II reconsideration before a different Immigration Judge' which conflicts with the order itself to which I have referred. This is a matter which I think requires attention because it is arguable that if the direction was for a two judge panel, the single judge second-stage reconsideration was a nullity.
4. This is a ground which I have given Ms Chandran leave to add because it is only on the late disclosure of the pink form that it has come to her attention. But she seeks permission to appeal against the determination on a number of grounds, which I have to say at once Auld LJ, on consideration of the papers, considered to be no more than challenges to fact-finding in what was, for better or worse, a thorough and careful determination.
5. On renewal, however, Ms Chandran submits that her case is, in more than one respect, a viable legal challenge and not merely a dispute about the facts. The first ground is that the first stage Tribunal having found two discrete errors of law, namely in relation to internal relocation and sufficiency of protection - ought to have limited the second stage to these two matters and not to set the whole case (bar the fact-findings in paragraphs 12.1 and 12.2) at large again. She cites in her skeleton argument sufficient authority in this court to give the point life, albeit it is a point which she has been able to take only (in relation to the other point) on sight of the pink form.
6. The submission which needs to be added to the grounds (and again, for which she needs and has my leave) is that the second Immigration Judge ought therefore not to have re-determined the issues of whether the appellant's fears were well-founded and whether she was a member of a particular social group, both of which had been determined in her favour and as to which no error of law had been found.
7. If the well-foundedness of the appellant's fears was legitimately before the second Tribunal, it is submitted that the Immigration Judge's decision on it is flawed by his failure to take into account the expert in-country evidence of Ms Olateru-Olagbegi, which had been accepted and accorded weight by the first Immigration Judge. This, too, with great respect to the contrary view of Auld LJ, I consider to be arguable as an issue of law and not merely of fact because it is evidence which is capable of having had a critical impact on the outcome. With it goes a submission that other in-country evidence going to the sufficiency of protection and emanating from the US State Department and UNHCR has also been ignored. There may, in my view, be substance in Ms Chandran's contention that the second Immigration Judge has cherry-picked unfairly among the in-country evidence to which he did give attention.
8. There are then submissions that the second Immigration Judge ignored relevant and undisturbed fact-findings made by the first Immigration Judge; that he erred in his approach to the relationship of internal flight to the objective foundation of the fear of persecution; that his re-determination of the applicant's membership of a particular social group was deficient, and that evidence about her mental state and the impact on it of removal was dismissively treated by him. These submissions too appear to me viable; the remainder probably less so; but since they interlock I do not propose to sever any of them at this stage. It will be for Counsel to make the most realistic and economic presentation that she can of her points when the appeal, for which I propose to give permission, comes on.
9. There is, however, in my judgment, another reason for granting permission to appeal. This woman was brought to this country by a criminal who should not have been allowed in, and was compelled by force to provide sexual services to men living here. Her reward, now that she has finally escaped, is to be returned to a country where she will certainly be without social or familial support, will be expected to move to a strange region and to try to find work there and might still be at risk from the same predator. Some might think she is owed better than this. This court is not a court of morals, but is a court which, in my view, will want to look with great care at an outcome such as was arrived at here by a single Immigration Judge in sharp contrast to that of another Immigration Judge and at a hearing which it appears was intended to be conducted by a two-judge panel, one of them senior in status.
10. I would add this. The test applied by the second Immigration Judge was the test of exceptionality which is now known to be an incorrect application of Article 8(2). Although this error was not at present one of Ms Chandran's grounds, it may be that the moral case which I have mentioned would have been accorded rather more weight if the correct exercise of assessing not exceptionality but proportionality had in fact been gone through. This too may deserve attention."
"5. The parties are agreed that the determination of 5th March 2007 is flawed, insofar as the findings on the issue of sufficiency of protection and internal relocation were insufficiently clearly reasoned. It is further agreed that the issues of:
a. whether or not the appellant would be exposed to a real risk of persecution from her former trafficker in her home town; and
b. whether the appellant was a member of a 'social group'
had been determined in the appellant's favour by the first Immigration Judge and were not matters which fell to be reconsidered at the second stage.
6. The parties are therefore agreed that the matters for re-determination on remittal should consist of:-
a. whether or not the Nigerian authorities could offer a sufficiency of protection to the appellant, whether in her home town or elsewhere in Nigeria;
b. whether internal relocation would be unduly harsh;
c. whether the appellant's claim under Article 8 and/or 3 should succeed, including whether the medical statement issues raised by the appellant entitle her to succeed under these provisions.
7. It is further agreed that the AIT's findings at paragraph 12.1 and 12.2 of the first determination of 10th October 2005 should stand in any reconsideration hearing. In addition, the evidence of Ms Hove (paragraphs 11, 12, 13, paragraph 20 excluding the last sentence of that paragraph and paragraph 27), in the re-determination of 5th March, 2007 should also stand, to avoid the need for Mrs Hove to have to give evidence for a third time.
8. The AIT is requested to give further consideration to the listing notes of 21st November 2006 from Senior Immigration Judge Waumsley, which advised that the reconsideration hearing should take place in front of a two Judge panel, including one Senior Immigration Judge or one District Immigration Judge (sic)."
I found the appellant to have been a credible witness and accept almost all her evidence. It is common ground that she was trafficked from Nigeria to the UK for sexual purposes and there is nothing in the appellant's evidence, nor the supporting expert evidence, which is inconsistent with this situation.
I also accept that from the seriously disadvantaged position of an escaped penniless victim of trafficking in a foreign country, the appellant faced a desperate challenge surviving at large in the UK, until she was befriended by the impressive Polly Project. It may be that the sheer desperation inherent in the appellant's position, explains the only section of the appellant's story which I have difficulty in accepting namely, her detailed account of her treatment by Leeds Police. But this is no core issue.
Having accepted the appellant's 'status' as a trafficked woman, I must now determine whether in Nigeria, she faces a serious possibility of persecution for a Convention reason in the event of her return and further, whether there is a real risk of Article 3 or 8 harm befalling her in Nigeria, in that event.
To assist in reaching my conclusions, I first make some relevant findings of fact:
12.2 Findings of Fact
(a) I find that the appellant is a woman of 26, of basic education and no qualifications. She gave me the impression of being meek, vulnerable and generally unable to cope with the harsh situation in which she finds herself and possibly, too, with situations less harsh;
(b) the appellant has no family at all in Nigeria. Her father died before she was born and her mother in childbirth. There are no siblings;
(c) the appellant came willingly to the UK in total ignorance of the true purpose of her journey arranged by Mr Osagie but rather, expecting to secure mainline employment to improve her life and that of Aunt Becky then still living;
(d) that consequently, the appellant did not flee Nigeria due to having there, a well-founded fear of persecution. She is accordingly, if a refugee, a refugee sur place;
(e) that the man who so efficiently arranged the appellant's trafficking, is a professional violent criminal with a power base in Nigeria and probably in the UK and with easy ingress to and egress from the UK however arranged. The report of Ms Bisi Olateru-Olagbegi LLB., MCI.Arb (UK) contained the following opinion on Mr Osagie, relevant to his profile:-
'[P's] description of her trafficker fits the description of traffickers generally, as they usually pretend to be wealthy by wearing heavy and expensive jewellery and parading in posh expensive cars. It is common knowledge in Nigeria that wealthy people wield power and sometimes have security men with or without uniforms. Consequently, [P's] account of the profile of her trafficker with bodyguards is very plausible. In any case, traffickers, especially for international trafficking, usually move with syndicated gangs with different categories of criminal players. For example, different actors are involved in recruitment, forging of travel documents, facilitating issuance of visas or accompanying the trafficked victims.
The traffickers who actually accompany victims, usually have some clout so facilitate their passage through immigration both in Nigeria and foreign countries. Therefore, I am of the opinion that [P's] trafficker, who in fact accompanied her to Manchester, must be a wealthy man with a significant amount of influence and clout.'"
"11. I heard evidence from Ms Silva Hove of The Poppy Project. Ms Hove adopted her witness statement which can be found at page 3 of bundle D. In her witness statement Ms Hove states as follows:
'1. I make this statement in support of [PO's] application for asylum.
2. I refer to my previous statement of 27/09/05 for details of my involvement with the appellant. The purpose of this witness statement is to provide the court with an update of the appellant's case since my witness statement of 27/09/05 was submitted to the court.
3. I see [P] at least once a month and speak to her on the phone every two weeks. Further [P] knows she can contact me whenever she needs anything. Recently with her medical problems and her hospital appointments I have been seeing her more regularly.
4. [P] attempted to have counselling again with WAGM, in November 2005. Unfortunately this again was too upsetting for her and also she began to have serious problems with her health. I know that she was suffering from continuous bleeding and she was taken to hospital on two occasions in an ambulance in February and March 2006. She was subsequently diagnosed with suffering from fibroids. As a result [P] told me she did not wish to continue counselling as it was getting too much for her. In addition her health problems were causing her great distress and actually making it physically difficult for her to attend her counselling sessions. In my view this made her reluctance to attend counselling perfectly understandable.
5. Further the difficulty in discussing past experiences is not uncommon amongst the women I have worked with especially when they feel unsettled. When there is an outstanding asylum application it is common for trafficked women to put their emotions on hold. It is as if they function on survival mode. Some women take up counselling at a later stage when they become more settled and they feel safe enough to discuss their experiences. It is not uncommon that at the point asylum or some kind of leave is granted, that women's emotional issues surface as the worry of being returned home to a traumatic past often makes them put everything else on hold. Once this has been dealt with a woman is now able to express the suppressed emotions. Women at this stage require high level of support and assistance.
6. In terms of [P's] emotional and mental state it remains precarious. She is still in my view operating on survival modes. After her operation in September 2006 to treat her fibroids she had expected to recover quickly and when the bleeding continued she was very distressed. The outstanding asylum matter is also causing her great distress. However [P] is making effort with her studies. She has obtained a mini IT qualification and she has enrolled on another course, English, Maths and IT. These are all positive steps that help [P] not to dwell on her past but this is only a temporary measure. She can only truly get on with her life and begin her emotional healing once she has stability in respect of her immigration status.
7. In terms of the police investigation the police were unable to conclude their investigation positively. Therefore [P's] file has been stored away and in the event that a similar case arises which provides more details about Mr Osagie and his associates then [P's] case can be re-investigated. It is common in trafficking cases for cases to remain unresolved until a further complaint is made where further information or details can be provided.[P] was very disappointed when she heard this news.
8. Poppy supports victims of trafficking for as long as there are specialist needs related to trafficking. We conduct regular reviews every three months and we assess what provisions are required. Poppy Projects focuses on women who need a high level of support such as [P]. When this need subsides to a low level of care we have a resettlement worker who continues to support women until they access other local support services or have become more independent. This support diminishes according to the needs of our clients. In my view [P] still needs a great deal of support. As I explained earlier even if she is granted some kind of status leave in the United Kingdom [P] will likely require great support especially emotionally.
9. I believe that it is highly likely that if [P] is returned she will be at serious risk not only from her trafficker but other traffickers who prey on vulnerable women. [P] is highly vulnerable as she has no family, no contacts and therefore no social network. She has never had a job independently. She has limited education.
10. Moreover [P's] mental state and her physical problems make her even more vulnerable to exploitation and re-trafficking. [P] still reports that she has nightmares; she is easily startled and finds it difficult to cope with minor disturbances to her routine. [P] still finds it difficult to access support independently as she lacks confidence in herself she easily puts herself down. All these are consistent with someone who has gone through a traumatic experience. These factors are highly problematic for her and make her an easy target for other traffickers. In my view these ongoing psychological effects would make [P's] return to Nigeria intolerable as they heighten the risk of her being harmed
11. [P] will need safe accommodation and ongoing support in order to begin to live a normal life. Based on the information available to me from IOM London who we liaise with in arranging voluntary return the support for trafficking victims in Nigeria in my view is inadequate and not sufficient to protect [P] from being re-trafficked. Any support that's temporary is not sufficient as victims of trafficking suffer an extremely wide range of health problems of which many are severe and enduring. It is therefore essential for women to have the appropriate assistance and support available that fosters their well-being, independence and re-integration.'
12. In evidence-in-chief Ms Hove was asked to explain what risks there were to the appellant if she was returned to Nigeria and Ms Hove was honest and candid in explaining that this depends on the support available to her on return because at the present time the appellant has not started dealing with any of her emotional problems and has stopped counselling and due to her physical health problems if she does not have adequate support this will increase her vulnerability and increase her risk of being trafficked. Ms Hove is only aware of what is available in Nigeria from conversations with IOM (the International Organisation for Migration) and they have told her that temporary accommodation is available but because of limited funding there is not always space as only two shelters are available. Ms Hove does not think the provision in Nigeria is adequate and she is basing her opinion on the information she has received from IOM. Because of the appellant's particular needs they have had to refer her to specialist doctors having to deal with so many things and because of this she has not started engaging with a counsellor to deal with her emotional problems and as a result Ms Hove believes she needs long term support of more than three to six months and where there is no outside support or only temporary support Ms Hove takes the view that she is more at risk on return.
13. In cross-examination Ms Hove confirmed that she had no expertise on risk on return for young women in Nigeria but was basing her comments on evidence to the Poppy Project on women they have worked with who have been re-trafficked and who have no-one to protect them in terms of family.
20. I have considered the submissions raised by the appellant's representative in seeking to distinguish JO [JO (internal relocation no risk of retrafficking) Nigeria  UKIAT 00251 ] and I have also considered the appellant's claim in the context of the evidence given by Ms Hove. Ms Hove was candid and honest in her evidence before me that the Poppy Project have no particular experience of women returning to Nigeria and Ms Hove herself has no personal experience of returning women to Nigeria. She does have some general knowledge of re-trafficking through the work of the Poppy Project but nothing which is specifically relevant to Nigeria. She was genuinely concerned about the appellant's mental and physical health issues and the availability of adequate support for the appellant on return and was candid and honest in indicating in answer to a question as to the risks, if any, the appellant would face if returned to Nigeria that her answer would depend on the support available to the appellant on return because she has not yet started dealing with any of her emotional problems and has stopped counselling and her physical health problems mean that if she does not have adequate support this will increase her vulnerability and increase her chance of being re-trafficked. . .
27. Ms Hove of the Poppy Project has had conversations with IOM (an international organisation also referred to by the respondent in the refusal letter). Ms Hove was able to confirm what is already set out in the refusal letter and in the background material placed before me, which is that IOM operate two shelters for trafficked women in Nigeria. IOM have told Ms Hove that the accommodation available is inadequate and that victims of trafficking are only entitled to remain in sheltered accommodation for up to two weeks. The accommodation is temporary accommodation."
Oral Evidence of Ms Bisi Olateru-Olagbegi
Evidence in chief
Cross-Examination by Mr Tufan
Re-examination by Ms Chandran
Questions Put to the Witness by the Tribunal
Further Questions Put by Ms Chandran
Oral Evidence of the Appellant
Evidence in chief
Cross-examination by Mr Tufan
Re-examined by Ms Chandran
Further Cross-examination by Mr Tufan
Oral Evidence of Nelda Johnson
Evidence in chief
Cross-examination by Mr Tufan
Questions put by the Tribunal in order to clarify the Witness's Evidence
Re-examination by Counsel
Hearing on 7th January 2009
"The appellant shall, no later than 12th December, 2008, serve on the respondent and file with the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Tribunal full copies of all reports referred to or quoted by Ms Bisi Olateru-Olagbegi, unless full copies of such documents are already in the bundle prepared for the Tribunal at its hearing on 6th November last."
Unfortunately the medical notes are handwritten and not entirely legible. They appear also to have been written in some form of "shorthand". However, an entry on 4th May, notes that the appellant complained of being subjected to torture by means of regular beatings and burning with cigarette ends. It also notes that the appellant has "voodoo marks". Scars were said to be visible on the appellant's left upper thigh and right buttock.
In this report, the author, a Chartered Psychologist specialising in Post-Traumatic Stress, reported that the appellant was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and a Major Depressive Disorder. At paragraph 5 of her report, Dr Capuzzo said this:-
"5.01 The first issue was to assess [the appellant's] current mental state. Based upon my interview of [the appellant], my observation of [the appellant's] emotional and behavioural reactions to her experiences and from my experience of having worked with trauma survivors for an extended period of time, I am of the opinion that she presents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition she presents with a major depression, which is moderate to severe in nature.
5.02 As I outlined in Appendix 2 above, both are recognised psychiatric disorders and are codified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders iv (DSM iv American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
5.03 Furthermore, I am of the opinion that [the appellant's] current psychological difficulties have originated from the traumatic events she had experienced in Manchester. Specifically her experiences of being repeatedly physically and sexually abused at the hands of Mr Osagie and his colleagues.
5.04 My opinion is based on the following facts: Firstly, as indicated in my curriculum vitae (Appendix 1), I have extensive clinical experience of working with survivors of trauma. In light of this I firmly believe that [the appellant's] verbal reports of the horrific events she experienced and her cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to these experiences are wholly realistic.
5.05 Secondly, as outlined in the research section of this report (paragraphs 3.04 to 3.10) the psychological difficulties with which [the appellant] presents are in accordance with the empirical literature for the development of PTSD and co-morbid problems (e.g. depression) with survivors of traumatic life events such [as] rape.
5.06 [The appellant] has yet to receive any professional help for her psychological difficulties. Although [the appellant] said that she finds it difficult to talk about her experiences due to painful memories and their associated distressing emotions, she felt that she would like some guidance in how to manage her difficult feelings and behaviour.
5.07 I would strongly recommend that she receives formal psychological intervention. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is seen as the treatment of choice for those who are suffering from PTSD and has recently been advocated in guidelines drawn up by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Department of Health and British Psychological Society, 2005).
5.08 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is available on the National Health Service. Given that [the appellant] resides in East London and City Mental Health Trust she can be referred, by a Consultant Psychiatrist, to the Institute of Psycho-trauma, St Bartholomew's Hospital, William Harvey House, 61 Bartholomew Close, London EC1 7BE. This is a tertiary service which provides CBT to those who have PTSD as a result of a traumatic life event. An interpreter will be provided if a patient's first language is not English.
5.09 Briefly, treatment would last between ten and sixteen sessions and would focus on educating the patient about the nature of PTSD and its associated disorders, reconstructing negative appraisals of the trauma and its consequences and re-living and re-constructing traumatic memories through imaginal exposure.
5.10 It was evident from the interview that [the appellant] found it extremely painful to discuss her experiences of physical and sexual abuse. Firstly, discussing the past brought up painful memories and overwhelming feelings, which she was unable to manage. Moreover, [the appellant] is ashamed of her experiences. She believes that perhaps she could have stopped her perpetrators from abusing her and perhaps she should have foreseen what would happen to her.
5.11 She said that she feels disgusted with herself (e.g. she cannot bear to look at herself in the mirror). She also believes that she is a "dirty and bad person". [The appellant] said that she fears others will find out about her past and will also see her in a negative light. Consequently, she has refrained from discussing these events to others.
5.12 I am of the opinion that as a consequence of these beliefs [the appellant] found it difficult to independently disclose what had happened to her. This would have been particularly so had a man questioned her.
5.13 Throughout my clinical career of working with sexually abused women this is a typical clinical picture.
5.14 At the time of my interviewing [the appellant] she had yet to undergo an HIV test. She told me that she was afraid of what the results would show. She added that if she had HIV this would indicate how disgusting a person she was.
5.15 Since my interviewing [the appellant] she has plucked up the courage to be tested for HIV. The results have yet to be confirmed. However, given her current mental state, I am concerned that a positive result would compound her psychological state. Specifically [the appellant] suffers from a moderate to severe depression. Her depression is characterised by suicidal ideation. It is possible that a positive result would exacerbate this particular problem and could lead to her attempting to take her own life.
5.16 [The appellant] fears returning to Nigeria. She believes that Mr Osagie or other traffickers will force her back into sexual slavery as she has no means of protection (e.g. living relatives, social network or knowledge of agencies that could protect her). Given her current mental state, it is possible that being forcibly returned to Nigeria and given her fears; her mental state would rapidly decline.
5.17 The Poppy Project and Eve's Housing for Women have so far helped [the appellant]. In combination they have provided her with emotional and physical security. This to some degree has stopped [the appellant's] mental state from deteriorating further. Should they be withdrawn I am of the opinion that [the appellant's] psychological state will deteriorate to the extent that she will no longer be able to function in any aspect of her life (e.g. socially, occupationally or educationally) with support from these two services and a psychological therapy programme [the appellant] may have a chance of reconstructing her life."
a) This referred to the appellant claiming to have been subjected to repeated assaults after having been abducted and falsely imprisoned between January and mid-March 2005. The appellant claimed that apart from being abducted and held against her will, she was physically assaulted and raped on a daily basis by her abductor. She was punched and slapped across the face and all over the body, kicked by the booted feet of her assailant, burnt with cigarettes, hit with a belt and dragged by the hair during these assaults. She also claimed that her assailant inflicted "voodoo" marks on her body using a razor blade and black powder commonly found in Nigeria. The appellant reported a poor appetite resulting in loss of weight, much sleep disturbance, and mood changes with tremendous resulting anxiety, night sweats and frequent palpitations. She expressed the fear that her abductor would find her and the consequences for her would be dire.
b) A number of cigarette burns were noted on the appellant's body, one on her right buttock, one on the left lower anterior thigh, one on the inner aspect of the left mid-thigh, one in the upper third aspect of the left inner thigh and one in the right groin difficult to delineate because of the presence of stretch marks. These wounds were said to be consistent with healed cigarette burns.
c) Dr Lacey also noted a vertical pigmented flat scar 0.6 cm long and 0.2 cm wide on the lateral aspect of the appellant's right arm consistent with a fingernail impression. She also noted a pigmented irregular scar overlaying the mid-inguinal region in the right groin consistent with a friction burn from having been dragged along the floor. There were a number of multiple linear small pigmented superficial lesions over the appellant's body which were caused, claimed the appellant, by a razor blade and then being rubbed with black powder. In her summary and conclusion, Dr Lacey says:-
"[The appellant] reports a horrific period of internment and physical and mental abuse over a period of approximately two months at the beginning of 2005. This resulted in a number of physical injuries which are documented in the above section. The history given by [the appellant] is consistent with the lesions described above. The circular/ovid lesions on the left leg and groin are consistent with healed burn lesions caused by a lighted cigarette being held to the skin. The pigmented lesions listed on the torso are consistent with tattooing caused by an unknown substance and with the history given.
[The appellant] is obviously depressed and quite psychologically traumatised by this ordeal. However a full psychological assessment was beyond the remit of my instructions and therefore not undertaken. I would, however recommend that she receives formal psychological assessment and support following this most traumatic event."
The author of this report, is the appellant's consultant gynaecologist. He reported that the appellant attended gynaecology outpatient clinic on 25th January, 2006 giving a history of worsening problems with heavy painful periods over the past year. The appellant disclosed a history of having been bought to the United Kingdom and sexually exploited. An ultrasound scan showed the appellant to have multiple uterine fibroids.
a) In a lengthy, and at times rather repetitive report, the author expressed the opinion that the appellant is suffering from a complex and severe form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that she has additional symptoms which cannot be subsumed under this diagnosis. This, Dr Agnew-Davies said, is not unusual. The author suggests that there is sufficient evidence to conclude the presence of a Major Depressive Episode and to diagnose Major Depressive Disorder in addition to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She believed that the appellant was extremely vulnerable from a psychological perspective and suggests that the appellant access symptom-focused cognitive behaviour therapy which might help her address her negative thoughts, sleeping problems, appetite loss and fear symptoms.
b) Under the heading, "Implications of Disorders for Vulnerability" the author said this:-
"4.3.1 Such a severe psychological reaction as noted in this case has been associated with biological factors or the way the body reacts in response to danger (Yehuda et al, ), not just in the present but with respect to memories of past danger and the anticipation of future harm. For instance [the appellant] is easily terrified and triggered by 'little things' to record past abuse and hence to experience associated distress. Research has shown that trafficked women exist in a heightened state of arousal. Instead of the normal response to danger, which would be to fight or flee, people held against their will are unable to do either. After repeated abuse, instead, they become unable to turn off their basic biological alarm mechanisms (Saporta and Van Der Kolk, ) and they are locked into 'red alert'. For example, Zimmerman et al  state (p76):
'As traffickers made women believe they were in imminent danger, women existed in a heightened state of alert, recognising the limits of their ability to protect themselves. In response to this type of lethal danger, the normal human reaction triggers integrated physical and psychological responses that prepare the individual to either flee the situation or to defend herself from imminent danger. When the threat is chronic, individuals are often able to 'turn off' their 'basic biological and safety alarm mechanisms and remain constantly prepared to defend themselves against life threatening events'. Some experts have speculated that repetitive helplessness of this kind may 'disorganise cognitive process' or disable an individual's instinctive ability to respond appropriately.'
4.3.2 These women are at risk of recurrence of or heightened symptoms of PTSD particularly if they encounter stressful or traumatic events (Marshall et al ; Osuch et al ) such as being asked to recall their experiences or to enter situations with which past trauma is associated. This would include trauma focus therapy or return to country of origin, in which she believes Mr Osagie will await her. [The appellant] is particularly vulnerable to becoming psychologically overwhelmed because her memories of the abusers are easily triggered, if not omnipresent. In other words, she has an extremely low threshold for the experience of intrusive symptoms.
4.3.3 When triggered, any client with PTSD is likely to experience hyper-vigilance (extreme and constant scanning of the environment to anticipate danger) and hyper-arousal (pronounced startle reactions, panic symptoms) as well as Avoidance symptoms, which impede her capacity to cope. Symptoms of hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance (particularly in the context of [the appellant's] symptoms of anxiety) are likely to include the following: breathing faster (hyper-ventilation), heart rate acceleration, chest pain, slowing of the digestive system, nausea, urge to urinate and defecate and increased visual and auditory sensitivity. I think that it is likely that these in turn would exacerbate [the appellant's] existing symptoms of sleeping difficulties, loss of appetite and reports of physical pain. When these symptoms become so intense, many people are pre-occupied with their internal experience and are more likely to experience a panic attack. Consequently, they cannot focus on external events such as a conversation or take appropriate actions in situations of risk.
4.3.4 Symptoms of Avoidance create a different set of challenges for the patient. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association) is characterised by 'persistent avoidance of triggers or numbing of general responsiveness' including efforts to avoid 'thoughts, feelings or conversations about the trauma' and 'inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma'. In other words (Dutton  'Denial is often used to cope with the emotional aftermath' (P107). These are exacerbated by feelings of shame, as in this case. Whether or not they make conscious efforts, victims of sexual abuse like [the appellant] adopt internal avoidance strategies (dissociation) because they re-experience being trapped. Dissociation means that clients experience unconscious, automatic reactions over which they have no control and of which they may not even be aware. In basic terms, they 'switch off mentally', to cope with what is perceived as repetition of the assault. I witnessed this phenomenon more than once in my interview with [the appellant] and she described behaviours consistent with this occurrence.
4.3.5 In effect, because she cannot run away or fight, the victim absents herself from the scene, or its memory, and although she may continue minimal function, essential aspects will not be available to her conscious mind. I found evidence that this is already a problem for [the appellant]. The critical nature of dissociation is that it is unconscious and not amenable to the client's conscious control without skilled therapeutic intervention over time. Moreover, no matter how willing a client is to try to cope, if she imagines that she is at risk, it is likely that she will dissociate at an early stage, and therefore she will remain in the situation and unable to take appropriate action.
4.3.6 It is a common sign of severe trauma that victims have a foreshortened sense of future and often consider death as a preferable option, which is controlled in this case by [the appellant's] religious convictions. In addition I do not think [the appellant] presents a current suicidal risk, because of her hope for a family life with her child. This opinion is despite clinical research (summarised by Humphreys, 2003; Golding, 1999) which shows that women who experience violence are at least four times more likely to attempt to take their lives than women in the wider population and the after effects of sexual assault suggest at least 20% of rape victims make an attempt to kill themselves (Foa and Rothbaum, 1998). However, I would not feel confident if there was a problem with the birth or she returned to Nigeria that this would not become an issue, particularly in the light of her depressive symptoms. Suicide attempts are most likely when hopelessness is coupled with low self esteem, and there is evidence in this case that [the appellant's] self esteem is fragile (Dutton, 1992).
4.3.7 Additional symptoms of complex and severe PTSD, especially in trafficked women, include lack of self determination (after it has been dictated by others) and feeling detached from people (Zimmerman et al, 2006). [The appellant] has shown remarkable resilience in holding on to her belief that she is a good person and that Mr Osagie's abuse was unfair and unjust, to the extent that she resisted his efforts to force her into prostitution. While evidence of strength of character that she attributes to growing up in Africa, there is no doubt that her self regard has been damaged and the mistrust that she now experiences is profound, even to the extent that she is suspicious about her pastor's motives. A distinct but related psychological phenomenon in traumatised victims is that they tend to perceive people, events or situations categorically, rather than in degrees; people are divided into 'enemies' or 'heroes' and a person cannot appropriate degrees of trust (Herman, 1992). In turn, these symptoms result in a maladaptive response. In effect, [the appellant] is likely to continue to isolate herself and is likely to continue to experience a sense of ongoing helplessness, passivity, and in-action; such that with repeated failure, she may simply give up attempts to respond appropriately (Saporta and Van Der Kolk, 1992). In the past, these phenomenon led to Battle Women Syndrome (Walker, 1984).
4.3.8 The depressive symptoms in conjunction with PTSD impact on her concentration and memory and her decision that she cannot cope with college, is also negative for her prognosis. Her trouble controlling her misplaced anger further jeopardises the chance of informal social support; this is a clinical concern, because social support is one of the best predictors of recovery (or deterioration) in mental health.
4.3.9 In summary, I found this client to be particularly vulnerable. As one instance, my clinical experience has shown that victims of sexual abuse, especially those with symptoms of depression like [the appellant] adopt Avoidance Strategies when they feel trapped. This renders them less capable of escaping a potentially dangerous situation. In basic terms, a 'freeze' to cope with anticipated assault, rather than adopting a normal 'fight' or 'flight' response (confronting the aggressor and appropriate escape action), which would be more typical of people who had not previously been abused. This 'freeze' reaction is particularly likely in someone like [the appellant] who was unable to escape from abusive situations over prolonged periods."
c) Discussing the likely impact of return, the author said that she believed that the appellant's:
"Current symptoms render her less able to adjust to return to Nigeria than a healthy person, or one who has not experienced abuse. She is likely to be triggered to heightened flashbacks, which in turn would increase her symptoms in a spiralling fashion. These would not just include hyper-vigilance and hyper-arousal (anxiety and fear symptoms) but she is more likely to experience a worsening of her already severe depressive symptoms, including despair, hopelessness and suicidal ideas. My professional opinion is that [the appellant's] return to Nigeria would cause significant detriment to her mental health and jeopardise her recovery prospects."
a) In the summary of her conclusion, the author reports that she found that the appellant:
"Continues to present with a complex, chronic and severe form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder. I found a deterioration in her degree of arousal and in her capacity to manage interpersonal relationships, resulting in breakdowns in her primary support systems and increased isolation. Her psychiatric conditions are extremely unlikely to resolve spontaneously and render her vulnerable in the longer term. I think that she needs specialised trauma-focused therapy to recover. [The appellant] is highly likely to continue to suffer clinically significant and prolonged psychological problems until this occurs. She will remain vulnerable to relapse when her current symptoms are resolved. Her psychological conditions impair her coping strategies and render her vulnerable in situations of risk. My professional opinion is that [the appellant's] return to Nigeria would cause further detriment to her mental health and undermine her parenting capacity."
b) Dr. Agnew-Davies went on to suggest that the author found that there had been no improvement in the appellant's mental health since the first report and two incidences of deterioration including a substantial increase in her symptoms of anxiety or arousal. In discussing the prognosis and implications for behaviour and vulnerability, the author said:-
"4.2.1 My opinion outlined in Section 4.2 of my first report still holds. I reiterate my prognosis in 4.2.3, formed on the basis of research, that I anticipate that [the appellant] is likely to experience longer term difficulties (over six to nine years once she feels safe and has access to specialist support), because of the severity and complexity of her symptoms. I think it is extremely unlikely that she can recover her mental health spontaneously without long term professional help. When this help has been obtained, I also think she will continue to experience residual problems, which are less amenable to change.
4.2.2 In my first report (4.2.4) I recommended that [the appellant] access CBT Therapy with a view to longer term specialist trauma-focused therapy as Dr Capuzzo also recommended in her report in 2005. Since I believe she is extremely vulnerable from a psychological perspective, I would hope that arrangements could be made either with the appropriate mental health service or through social services for them to provide baby care or home visits. I also think that any supportive/therapeutic contact, such as those provided by women and girls network, a planned London service for sexual abuse survivors or social groups such as mother and baby groups provided by Sure Start or a combination, would be of help (as indicated in the literature e.g. Gordon, 1996) particularly in view of [the appellant's] isolation. This is because the disorder of PTSD has been associated with 'impairment of the person's ability to function in social or family life' (National Centre for PTSD, 2005) and it bears repetition that social support is a significant predicator of recovery, whilst isolation is likely to cause deterioration in mental health (e.g. Department of Health, 2003).
4.2.3 In Section 4.3 of my first report I outlined various aspects of the client's psychological profile which was associated with vulnerability, deterioration in mental health and/or to the risk of further harm. [The appellant's] profile at that time, which has not improved, included hyper-vigilance, arousal (indeed this has deteriorated); Avoidance including Dissociation; lack of self determination and detachment from people (which has also shown deterioration) and depressive symptoms. In short, the implications are that this client cannot take appropriate action in situations of risk and becomes quickly overwhelmed by internal processes that disable her from responding appropriately."
c) She went on to suggest that the appellant would not gain full recovery without developing assurance that she is safe and secure. It said that the appellant was a responsible and caring mother and that her child's birth has given the appellant a reason to live and a purpose to which she is very committed. Dr. Agnew-Davies recommended that services like Sure Start or Home Start were put in place for the appellant immediately. She confirmed that she did not wish to revise any part of her opinion about the likely detrimental impact of return to Nigeria on the appellant's mental health, but added that she did not believe that the appellant was fit to work and anticipates that on return to Nigeria her capacity to parent her baby appropriately would be disabled. She did not believe that she would be able to manage his age appropriate developmental needs without specialist trauma-focused therapeutic help to recover her mental health.
Expert Opinion of Ms Olateru-Olagbegi dated 26th July 2005
This addendum was prepared by the expert following the conclusion of her having given evidence to the Tribunal on 6th November. Following the hearing, the appellant's solicitors forwarded copy correspondence to her sent by Mr Tufan to NAPTIP and the reply from Mrs Oguejiofor. In her report, Ms Olateru-Olagbegi, explains that she was asked to comment on the following issues:-
"1. Whether a returning victim of trafficking with a young baby will be admitted to NAPTIP shelters and whether the shelters have the relevant adequate facilities for such victim and baby.
2. Whether a returning victim with a baby would be met at the airport.
3. Whether a NAPTIP shelters have counselling or medical facilities for victims who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders."
1.1 First I wish to adopt my opinion as stated in my second further addendum dated 11th September, 2008 especially paragraph 2.2 on 'Government/state and civil society capacity to protect returnee trafficked persons' in particular I wish to reiterate as stated in paragraph 2.2.15 that I do not doubt the willingness and enthusiasm of NAPTIP officials to admit any returnee victim including victim with child who so consents to its shelter, though I am not aware of any previous admission of trafficked victims and their babies in the NAPTIP shelters. However the shelters as they are presently designed do not have facilities for childcare such as crθche and necessary privacy for a nursing mother. The response of the NAPTIP official Mrs Oguejiofor to the issue raised by the Home Office did not state that there are such facilities for childcare. The mere admission into a temporary and institution-style shelter without the necessary facilities for rehabilitation and reintegration will not provide adequate care, assistance or protection to any returning victim of trafficking.
1.2 Furthermore, NAPTIP reliance on its collaboration with Federal Ministry of Women Affairs for the Provision of Temporary Fostering is in my opinion not adequate care, assistance or protection for a victim and a child. From my experience victims of violence or who have had traumatic experiences usually suffer worse trauma if separated from their children and in any case there is no fact to support that the appellant would give up her baby for fostering albeit even temporarily. Although the Nigerian Government has exhibited political will to address the issue of trafficked victims in reality the government shelters and its personnel, lacked the adequate facilities and capabilities for a variety of reasons, including inadequate funding, to care for, assist or protect the trafficked victims. The incapacity of Nigerian government to care, assist or protect the victims was alluded to in the recent Country of Origin Information Report dated 5th December 2008 at 31.07 where it states and I quote 'While Nigeria assisted an increased number of victims, the quality of care provided was compromised by inadequate funding to shelters' (see HTTP://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/nigeria-081208.doc).
2. I am aware that NAPTIP will meet returning victim at the airport if it has prior knowledge and information of such return.
3.1 I wish to restate my opinion in paragraph 2.216 of expert report dated 11th September 2008 and wish to state further that NAPTIP shelters only have first aid clinics within their premises with opportunity for referrals to hospitals in case of emergencies.
3.2 The shelters do not have qualified mental health therapist to treat victims with post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). All the services that such nurses and social workers can render is some counselling as was attested to by Mr Morka head of the NAPTIP Lagos shelter who in response to a fact-finding mission in 2007 who was quoted as follows: 'According to Mr Morka, the women and children housed in the shelter receive food, necessary treatment and some counselling' (Italics mine) (see Country of Origin Information Report Nigeria 13th November, 2007 paragraph 31.12). In my opinion social workers or nurses who undergo some ad hoc training in counselling would not have the necessary capacity, expertise and skills to provide the mental health therapy for a trafficked woman who has post traumatic stress disorder the nature of which the appellant has.
3.3 An assessment of this situation of Nigerian NAPTIP shelter and its incapacity and lack of trained personnel was referred to in a USAID study on the rehabilitation of victims of trafficking in group residential facilities in foreign countries a study conducted pursuant to the trafficked victim protection Reauthorisation Act, 2005 published in September 2007. On page 25 of chapter 19 of the report it states and I quote: 'The majority of shelters reviewed in this study had some form of counselling services available to victims. However, an assessment of a government-run shelter in Nigeria found that counsellors often lacked specialised training in trafficking-related trauma. This assessment also noted that the shelter's atmosphere is an important element in the psychological well-being of trafficking victims. Residing in a facility that is similar to one's home, rather than an 'institution' and having access to recreational facilities may help shelter residents achieve emotional release from the trauma they have experienced.' See HTTP://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programmes/wid/pubs/ShelterStudy_aug2007.pdf"
Although the Nigerian Government through the NAPTIP officials is willing to address the situation of trafficked returnee victims, the reality is such that it lacks the capacity and facilities presently will be inadequate protect and re-integrate the appellant in this case as a returnee trafficked victim [Sic]. The reality is such that in the case of the appellant, a highly vulnerable victim of trafficking who suffers from significant mental health illnesses as a result of her experiences and has particular needs for specialist forms of assistance for herself and care for her very young child, the temporary nature of shelter that NAPTIP asserts it is able to provide, together with a lack of specialised counselling, is inadequate to her needs. In addition the removal of her child from her even by way of temporary fostering arrangements by NAPTIP cannot be considered an adequate form of assistance, rehabilitation or protection for the appellant in view of her bonds with her child especially considering the fact that she has no other family at all and the conditions of her on-going mental trauma. Further, in the absence of any clear and specialist provision of counselling and re-integration assistance for the appellant in this case by NAPTIP it is perfectly possible that her trauma will continue and may indeed worsen in the NAPTIP shelter, which it is recalled, is an institution-style temporary shelter that does not provide any long-term or durable care, protection or assistance for a woman with the appellant's family background, her history of severe exploitation, her lack of any family support in Nigeria and her current high level needs, not only as a returning victim of sex trafficking, but as the vulnerable mother of a young infant child."
Further Addendum to Expert Opinion dated 7th July, 2005
"- Whether the appellant's level of vulnerability to be re-trafficked has increased now that she is a lone female with a child and no family support;
- whether there is support for the appellant as a returned former victim of trafficking by the Nigerian authorities including NAPTIP the agency in charge of human trafficking cases;
- whether any NGOs in Nigeria would be in a position to help the appellant and her child if returned and, if so, to what extent;
- the appellant is from Benin City, Edo State if returned to Nigeria would avoid returning to her home area in order to avoid being targeted by the same criminals who trafficked her into the UK (sic). How feasible would be it for the appellant to relocate from Edo State to other parts of the country, particularly as a lone female with a dependant child and no support;
- what is the rate of criminal convictions against traffickers in Nigeria from the time of the first application of the appellant to date and to highlight any steps that had been taken to tackle trafficking and in particular the corruption inherent in it and whether said changes have had any impact; what is the data on any re-trafficking statistics;
- what are the details of any government support networks, such as social services that the appellant can avail herself of together with a child in Nigeria, given that she has no practical skills, is virtually uneducated and has no access to family support and has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder;
- what stigma if any is faced by former victims of trafficking as a group and whether this stigma is equivalent to that faced by prostitutes in Nigeria."
"1. To decide whether the Nigerian authorities would be able `to offer protection to the appellant on return to Nigeria; alternatively
2. would internal relocation be unduly harsh; and
3. the appellant's Article 3 and Article 8 claims."
Hearing on 13th January, 2009
"Women and households headed by women are frequently the most chronically poor within rural communities. Women have lower social status than men and consequently less access to schooling and training, particularly in childcare and health practices."
"- whether there is a sufficiency of protection available to the appellant on her return to her home area and if not;
- whether internal relocation would be unduly harsh?"
The answer to these two questions will determine whether the appellant is a refugee. Additionally the appellant relies on Articles 3 and 8. The skeleton argument relies on the same background material to which Counsel drew our attention during her lengthy submissions.
339O (i) The Secretary of State will not make:
(a) a grant of asylum if in part of the country of origin a person would not have a well founded fear of being persecuted, and the person can reasonably be expected to stay in that part of the country;
(b) a grant of humanitarian protection if in part of the country of return a person would not face a real risk of suffering serious harm, and the person can reasonably be expected to stay in that part of the country.
(ii) In examining whether a part of the country of origin or country of return meets the requirements in (i) the Secretary of State, when making his decision on whether to grant asylum or humanitarian protection, will have regard to the general circumstances prevailing in that part of the country and to the personal circumstances of the person.
(iii) (i) applies notwithstanding technical obstacles to return to the country of origin or country of return."
"the obligation to afford refugee status arises only if the person's own state is unable or unwilling to discharge its own duty to protect its own nationals. I think that it follows that, in order to satisfy the fear test in a non state agent case, the applicant for refugee status must show that the persecution which he fears consists of acts of violence or ill treatment against which the state is unable or unwilling to provide protection. The applicant may have a well founded fear of threats to his life due to famine or civil war or of isolated acts of violence or ill treatment for a Convention reason which may be perpetrated against him. But the risk, however severe, and the fear, however well founded, do not entitle him to the status of a refugee."
"that would be beyond any realistic practical expectation."
"In my judgement there must be in force in the country in question a criminal law which makes violent attacks by the prosecutors punishable by sentences commensurate with the gravity of the crimes. The victims as a class must not be exempt from protection of the law. There must be a reasonable willingness by the law enforcement agencies that is to say the police and courts to detect, prosecute and punish the offender."
"The decision maker, taking account of all relevant circumstances pertaining to the claimant and his country of origin, must decide whether it is reasonable to expect the claimant to relocate or whether it would be unduly harsh to expect him to do so All must depend on fair assessment of the relevant facts."
"The question where the issue of internal relocation is raised can, then, be defined quite simply. As Linden JA put it in Thirunavukkarasu v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1993) 109 DLR (4th) 682, 687, it is whether it would be unduly harsh to expect a claimant who is being persecuted for a Convention reason in one part of his country to move to a less hostile part before seeking refugee status abroad. The words "unduly harsh" set the standard that must be met for this to be regarded as unreasonable. If the claimant can live a relatively normal life there judged by the standards that prevail in his country of nationality generally, and if he can reach the less hostile part without undue hardship or undue difficulty, it will not be unreasonable to expect him to move there."
The background material
"A number of NGOs are assisting victims of trafficking in Nigeria. Among the most prominent of those are GPI [Girls' Power Initiative], COSUDOW [Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women], IRRRAG [International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group], WOCON [Women's Consortium of Nigeria], WOTCLEF [Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation]], AWEG [African Women's Empowerment Guild], Idia Renaissance and the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria", (pp. 7 and 58-9).
"Regarding the NGO COSUDOW, which is headed by Rev. Sister Florence, Tommaso De Cataldo, Chief of Mission, IOM, Abuja, considered that this NGO and NAPTIP are two of the key institutions in Nigeria fighting trafficking and assisting victims of trafficking. COSUDOW is a well-established institution that has been present in Nigeria for a number of years and will continue to be so for years to come. The catholic orientation of COSUDOW is also beneficial, as many victims will feel confidence in a religious NGO. De Cataldo (IOM) added that COSUDOW is a strong organisation and Rev. Sister Florence is fully aware of the entire and intricate problem of trafficking", (p. 8).
"Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) explained that COSUDOW is part of an umbrella organisation of NGOs and governmental bodies that address the problem of trafficking. This umbrella is a cooperation of Bonded Labour in Nederland (BLinN), Government and NGOs. The different groups that make up the cooperation carry out activities together with each contributing their strength to finding lasting solution to the problem of human trafficking. COSUDOW is also a member of the NGO Coalition in Benin City combating trafficking in human beings, as well as a member of a national organization that works to combat trafficking, especially child trafficking and abuse. The name of the organization is Network of Non-Governmental Organisations Against Child-Trafficking, Labour and Abuse (NACTAL).
Veronica K. Umaru, National Coordinator, Women Trafficking & Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), Abuja, explained that NAPTIP is the federal government agency responsible for investigation, prosecution and protection; however WOTCLEF and other NGOs also offer other services such as counselling, rehabilitation and integration", (p. 9).
"2.2.1 The legal framework
De Cataldo (IOM) explained that the Federal Republic of Nigeria enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement Administration Act, 2003 [hereafter the Law] (amended in 2005), and established NAPTIP in 2003. This Act is the fulfillment of international obligations under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention). The Law seeks to address trafficking in persons with its associated problems by creating a specific multi-disciplinary crime-fighting agency to address them", (p. 10).
"The Act makes provision for the humane treatment, protection, and non-discriminatory practices towards victims of trafficking. These include access to rehabilitation facilities, temporary stay without valid documents and medical attention. (Sections 3637). Trafficked victims even have rights to institute civil actions against their traffickers irrespective of their immigration status" (Section 38).
"NAPTIP is in charge of [amongst other things]
"Taking charge, supervising, controlling and coordinating the rehabilitation of trafficking victims and participating in proceedings relating to trafficking in persons."
To assist the Agency in the exercise of its powers and functions, the Act also establishes in Sections 8 and 9 respectively, the following units with their specific duties [amongst which is] a Counselling and Rehabilitation Unit", (pp. 12-3)
"2.2.2 Funding for NAPTIP's activities
Lily N. Oguejiofor, Director, Counselling & Rehabilitation, NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters, explained that besides government funding, other sources for funding NAPTIP's activities are UNICEF, UNODC/United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), USAID, American Bar Association - Africa (ABA-Africa), ILO and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The governments of Italy, France, Norway and the Netherlands also provide funding for NAPTIP. Finally, IOM, the Italian NGO TAMPEP Onlus and Terre des Hommes are also providing funding.
Oguejiofor (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) added that funding of NAPTIP by the Government has increased during the last years", (p. 14).
"A.O. Abiodun, Barrister, Head, NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office explained that the Benin Zonal Office was the first zonal office to be established by NAPTIP. The U.S. Department of State reported that UNICEF continues to support additional funding for NAPTIP zonal offices", (p. 15).
"Legal and Prosecution Department
Barrister Abiodun (NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office) explained that the Legal and Prosecution Department has concluded six cases. NAPTIP got judgement in its favour in most of the cases. Five cases are pending and are at various stages of hearing at the High Court.
Counselling and Rehabilitation Department
Barrister Abiodun (NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office) explained that the Counselling and Rehabilitation Department had received 299 victims of trafficking since 2004. 58 of those have been rehabilitated while 241 victims are still awaiting rehabilitation. It was stressed that NAPTIP would greatly appreciate it if funds and equipments were made available for the reintegration of the remaining 241 victims", (p. 16)."
" Ndgauba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) emphasized that intimidation by ju-ju is the main reason why many victims of trafficking are not ready to cooperate with NAPTIP and others against their traffickers.
Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) explained that victims of trafficking are frightened by the oath of secrecy that they have taken at the shrine and because of the debt to the trafficker. However, the traffickers are aware that the victims rarely return to Nigeria by their own will and the trafficker will most likely not claim the debt by the use of threats of violence. However, if a victim returns voluntarily before the debt has been paid the trafficker may claim the debt from the family of the victim. Because of this there is a high risk that the victim will re-traffic in order for the family to pay the debt", (p. 23).
"3.2.1 Victims' debt to traffickers
Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) informed that usually the debt of the victim or her family to the agent is not a fixed amount and the total sum is not determined when the trafficking arrangement is agreed upon between the two parties. The victim may end up having to pay up to 50,000 or 60,000 Euros to her agent. Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) explained that the agent's real expenses in each case of trafficking may be considerable lower and it could amount to 2,000 or 3,000 Euros. However, more debt is continuously added when the victim is abroad. Adding to the original debt serves to keep the victim under the control of the agent because the victim is always under the obligation to pay her debt to the agent until the oath is revoked.
Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) added that should a victim escape or disappear before the debt has been paid and the oath revoked, it is possible that a ju-ju priest, or an agent would try to collect the debt at the home of the victim's family. It was emphasized that up to 90 % of the families affected would not call on the police or go to court, but they will do their utmost to pay the debt even though this kind of debt is illegal. Some families may even sell their land and property in order to repay the debt. There are also cases in which families have disowned their daughter because she is perceived to have brought the debt on the family. However, there are no known cases where such families have been killed or exposed their daughter to serious physical violence. Should NAPTIP be aware of such cases, the agency would do all it can to assist the victim and her family in order to reconcile and reunite the family, and to avoid re-recruitment taking place", (p. 24).
"Jane Osagie (IRRRAG) stated that traffickers in Nigeria have a network in Nigeria that can be used to collect the remaining debt or persecute the victims or their families. The debt could be as high as 50,000 to 65,000 Euros.
Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) explained that some victims of trafficking might be released after the debt has been paid but this is not very common. Instead, many are re-sold to another Madam or trafficker. Some of these may even establish themselves as Madams abroad, should they succeed in being granted a residence permit in a foreign country, or they may become traffickers in Nigeria.
Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) stated that whether the debt to the trafficker has been paid or not is much more relevant to the victim's security situation than if the victim has given evidence in court case. However, even if the debt has not been paid, the victim will always be able to seek and obtain protection from reprisals by traffickers in Nigeria", (p. 25)."
"Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) added that NAPTIP's witness protection programme exists throughout the country and it can be brought into use whenever it is necessary. Witness protection is included in the Nigerian law on trafficking. However, even though the trolley men's or trafficker's network in Nigeria is strong the local traffickers are insignificant, and they cannot successfully persecute their victims.
Regarding witness protection, Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) explained that no one, not even in European countries, could guarantee a witness 100 percent protection against intimidation such as ju-ju, which was described as psychological intimidation. Even though NAPTIP has a witness protection programme, this programme cannot guarantee protection against the traumas, which some victims suffer because of the oath of secrecy they have sworn, and their strong sense of obligation to the bidding of an agent or a Madam.
However, Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) emphasized that all victims, including victims that have testified against their traffickers or victims that are still indebted to their traffickers or Madams, would enjoy protection by NAPTIP against physical harm from traffickers if they wish. NAPTIP had never heard of any incidents in which agents of trafficking had killed or persecuted witnesses", (p. 42).
"5.2 Shelters, reintegration and rehabilitation facilities
5.2.1 NAPTIP shelters
According to De Cataldo (IOM) NAPTIP has access and is working toward the establishment of seven shelters in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Edo, Enugu, Sokoto and Akwa Ibom states. The active shelters have first aid capacity, a visiting medical doctor and referral capacity to hospitals.
Oguejiofor (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) stated that NAPTIP has seven shelters in operation in Nigeria. The shelters are located in:
State/City : Capacity
Lagos : 120
Abuja : 50
Uyo : 50
Kano : 50
Sokoto : 50
Benin City : 50
Enugu : 50
Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) explained that NAPTIP's Zonal Office in Lagos runs a shelter for victims of trafficking including a medical clinic. The shelter has a capacity of 120 beds and this number can be increased to 200 beds, if necessary. Since 2004, 631 victims have passed through the shelter, out of which 562 were women. 53 victims are currently in the shelter", (p. 42).
"According to Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office), the security in the shelter is extremely good as both the police and State Security Service (SSS) are based close to it. It was added that some of the returned victims had been accommodated in the shelter for up to three months. All victims in the shelter are staying there voluntarily.
Barrister Abiodun (NAPTIP Benin Zonal Office) explained that the present NAPTIP shelter in Benin City is not permanent, as the tenancy of the shelter will come to an end by 2008. It was emphasized that there is a need for the Zone to have its own shelter.
Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) explained that NAPTIP's shelter in Abuja can accommodate approximately 50 victims of trafficking and at the moment of writing this report 30 victims have their residence in the Abuja shelter.
It was emphasized by Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) that the problem is not that victims are not offered protection by NAPTIP if in need but that some victims actually leave their shelter before they can be certain to be out of any danger. Many victims simply do not wish to stay but wish to go home or they believe that staying at a NAPTIP shelter, i.e. a shelter, which is run by a governmental agency, might imply that they will be harassed. Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) emphasized that harassment or any other violations of the victims' rights does not take place in NAPTIP's shelters but of course NAPTIP would like to get information about the traffickers from the victims in order to investigate and prosecute the traffickers", (p. 43).
"5.2.2 NGO shelters
Mrs. Umaru (WOTCLEF) informed that WOTCLEF has a shelter for victims of trafficking and the NGO has in the past received financial support from different partners including UNICEF ILO/PATWA and the World Bank", (p. 43).
"Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) explained that WOCON does not have its own shelter, and victims of trafficking that are considered to be in need of protection are referred to NAPTIP's shelter in Lagos by WOCON. This shelter is the only shelter for victims of trafficking in Lagos.
De Cataldo (IOM) explained that COSUDOW recently opened a new shelter in Benin City and that the Italian Catholic church funded its establishment.
Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) informed that COSUDOW runs a shelter in Benin City and that victims can seek protection there. So far COSUDOW have been able to accommodate the needs for assistance and protection to all the victims who have requested this.
COSUDOW's shelter can accommodate 18 women. There is also a room for any physically challenged person who might come back. Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) noted that the shelter was single-handedly built by the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Italy and furnished by Missio, Aachen, Germany and the Religious Foundation against Trafficking in Women in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. Caritas Italiana donated the fund for the purchase of the land upon which the shelter is built. It was added that there is a convent within the shelter.
In contrast to Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) did not consider that COSUDOW's shelter in Benin City is capable to protect victims of trafficking in need of protection. Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) explained that the shelter was not yet functioning, as it had not been completed as of July 2007 when she last visited COSUDOW in Benin City. However, Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) considered that COSUDOW is in a better position to run a shelter than NAPTIP would. COSUDOWs Reverend Sisters' religious orientation give the victims a sentiment that they will be assisted and eventually be freed from their secret oath, and the victims will almost automatically have more confidence in the Reverend Sisters than in government employees at a NAPTIP shelter or even some NGOs.
Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) informed that the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria does not have its own shelter in Lagos but they can refer victims to the shelter of NAPTIP and the majority of victims are referred to NAPTIP's shelter. However, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria offers the victims vocational training in order for them to be able to seek employment.
Roland Chigozie (Idia Renaissance) explained that Idia Renaissance refers victims of trafficking who approach the organisation to NAPTIP's shelter in Benin City, but Idia Renaissance offer counselling and vocational training in its own centre. So far, Idia Renaissance has rehabilitated over 240 victims of human trafficking. This year (2007) Idia Renaissance has rehabilitated 30 girls and women referred by NAPTIP and five victims are currently been rehabilitated; the centre currently houses two of them because their families have rejected them. Idia Renaissance and IOM formerly ran this shelter jointly", (pp. 44-5).
"5.2.3 Reintegration and rehabilitation
Oguejiofor (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) explained that aside from psychological fear and fear of physical violence from agents, a third form of fear can be found with some victims. This fear has to do with the uncertain socio-economic situation and the concern about how to create a livelihood.
Roland Chigozie (Idia Renaissance) recommended that destination countries can assist the Nigerian government agencies like NAPTIP and NGOs involved in the rehabilitation of victims to be better equipped to handle victim's rehabilitation and that the European countries can also be involved in rehabilitation and empowerment before the victim is returned to Nigeria. Most victims expect economic empowerment as a precondition for returning to Nigeria.
Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) recommended receiving countries in Europe to offer the victims vocational training in order to motivate them to stay in Nigeria once returned. If this is not done, the former victims might try to be re-trafficked and return to Europe.
Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) considered that victims of trafficking would be much better off if they returned to Nigeria rather than staying abroad. However, he warned that if planeloads of victims were returned to Nigeria it would have a completely devastating effect on the possibility to absorb, i.e. receive, rehabilitate and reintegrate the victims into Nigerian society. Furthermore, he explained that it is of no use if European countries provide returned victims with a sum of money unless the victims have received some vocational training abroad or have the ability to administer that money. Usually the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria assists victims in vocational training for a period of three to six months.
Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) welcomed that many receiving countries supply victims who are deported with some kind of package or assistance to enable them to cater for themselves after they have returned to Nigeria. Such measures can reduce the risk of victims being re-trafficked. NAPTIP has entered agreements with Norway and other European countries via IOM. These agreements are all regarding rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking who are returning to Nigeria voluntarily", (pp. 45-6)."
"Corruption remains a serious problem, having bled Nigeria of many billions of dollars in oil revenue. The government has taken steps to improve transparency and reduce corruption, including the reform of procedures for contract procurements and bidding. In September 2006, a top official announced that authorities had convicted more than 1,000 people of economic crimes and recovered around $5 billion over the past two years. Seven former governors were charged with corruption in 2007 on orders from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Nigeria was ranked 147 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International's 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index."
"Who are Nigeria's rural poor people?
Women and households headed by women are frequently the most chronically poor within rural communities. Women have lower social status than men and consequently less access to schooling and training, particularly in childcare and health practices. Yet women play significant roles in rural economic activities. While the number of men migrating from rural areas in search of employment has increased over the last decades, the number of households headed by women has risen substantially. Women struggle to cope as the burden of work, at home and in the fields, falls on their shoulders. Malnutrition is a frequent problem in these households. "
"4. The Committee commends the State party for its large delegation headed by the Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, which included representatives of various Government ministries, departments and agencies, members of the National Assembly, as well as representatives from civil society. The Committee appreciates the open and constructive dialogue that took place between the delegation and members of the Committee.
5. The Committee notes with appreciation that the State party ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention in November 2004.
11. Noting the rejection by the National Assembly of a 2005 draft bill on full domestication of the Convention, the Committee expresses its concern that the Convention has yet to be fully domesticated as part of national law despite its ratification in 1985 without any reservations. As expressed in its previous concluding observations of 2004 (A/59/38, paras.282-316), the Committee is concerned that without such domestication, the Convention is not a part of the national legal framework and its provisions are not justiciable and enforceable in Nigerian courts.
13. The Committee welcomes efforts undertaken by the State party in the area of legal reform, such as the publication of a study compiling all national, state and local laws, policies and practices relating to the status of women and children and the establishment of a Committee on Reform of Discriminatory Laws against Women. The Committee expresses serious concern, however, at discriminatory provisions in the Constitution, including Section 26(2), which does not allow a Nigerian woman to transmit her nationality to her foreign spouse on the same basis as a Nigerian man. The Committee also expresses serious concern at other discriminatory laws at both the federal and state levels, including those that allow wife battery as chastisement as long as grievous harm is not inflicted (Section 55 of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria), prohibit women from working at night in certain sectors of employment (Section 55 of Chapter 198 of the 1990 Labour Act of Nigeria), and classify sexual assault against female victims as a misdemeanour (Section 360 of the Criminal Code). Further, the Committee notes that a draft bill on "Abolition of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in Nigeria and Other Related Matters" was not approved by the National Assembly.
15. While welcoming the adoption by 18 states of the Child Rights Act, which sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 years, the Committee notes with concern Section 29(4) of the Constitution, which states that a woman is deemed to be of full age upon marriage thereby lending support to early marriages.
17. The Committee expresses concern at contradictions and inconsistencies created by the application of statutory, customary and sharia laws in the State party's tripartite legal system, particularly in the areas of marriage and family law. It also notes with concern the existence of discriminatory provisions within these sources of law with regard to marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance. Recalling its previous concluding observations of 2004, the Committee reiterates that the tripartite legal system results in a lack of compliance by the State party with its obligations under the Convention and leads to continuing discrimination against women.
19. The Committee is concerned about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes concerning women's roles and responsibilities that discriminate against women and perpetuate their subordination within the family and society. It notes that such discriminatory attitudes and stereotypes constitute serious obstacles to women's enjoyment of their human rights and the fulfilment of the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Committee is thus concerned by the lack of information in the State party's report on the measures taken and programmes or strategies in place to combat and address such discriminatory attitudes and stereotypes. The Committee also expresses serious concern about the persistence of entrenched harmful traditional and cultural norms and practices, including widowhood rites and practices.
Violence against women
23. The Committee is concerned about the continuing prevalence of violence against women, including domestic violence. The Committee is also concerned by the absence of a comprehensive national law on violence against women and notes that a number of draft bills, such as the 2006 bill on "Elimination of Violence in Society" and the 2003 bill on "Violence against women", remain pending before the National Assembly. While acknowledging the efforts made by the State party to address the issue, including awareness-raising measures, training programmes and the provision of support services to victims, the Committee remains concerned about the absence of a comprehensive national strategy and programme to combat all forms of violence against women. The Committee also notes with concern that the majority of services for victims, including shelters, are provided by non-governmental organizations with limited support, including financial support, from the State party.
24. The Committee urges the State party to accord priority attention to the adoption of comprehensive measures to address violence against women and girls in accordance with its general recommendation 19 on violence against women. The Committee calls on the State party to enact comprehensive legislation on all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, as soon as possible. Such legislation should ensure that all forms of violence against women constitute a criminal offence, that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress and protection, and that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished. The Committee recommends the expansion of training activities and programmes for parliamentarians, the judiciary and public officials, particularly law enforcement personnel and for health-service providers, so as to ensure that they are sensitized to all forms of violence against women and can provide adequate support to victims. It further recommends the expansion of public awareness-raising campaigns on all forms of violence against women. The Committee also recommends the establishment of additional counselling and other support services for victims of violence, including shelters, and requests the State party to enhance its cooperation with, and support for non-governmental organizations working in the area of violence against women. The Committee requests the State party to provide information in its next report on the laws and programmes in place to deal with violence against women and on the impact of such measures, as well as data and trends on the prevalence of various forms of violence.
25. While acknowledging the measures taken by the State party to combat trafficking in women and children, including the adoption of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act of 2003, as amended in 2005, the establishment of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, and the various cooperation agreements reached with other countries, the Committee is concerned by the continuing prevalence and extent of this problem.
26. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the full implementation of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, including the prosecution and punishment of offenders. The Committee also urges the State party to give priority attention to the protection, including witness protection, counselling and rehabilitation of victims, especially girl children. The Committee calls on the State party to enhance measures aimed at the prevention of trafficking, including economic measures to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls, as well as awareness-raising and information campaigns, particularly in communities most at risk. The Committee also calls on the State party to intensify international, regional and bilateral cooperation with other countries of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women and girls.
28. In line with its previous recommendation, the Committee calls on the State party to take measures, with benchmarks and concrete timetables, to increase the number of women in political and public life, at all levels and in all areas, in light of its general recommendation 23 on women in political and public life. It also recommends that the State party introduce temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and general recommendation 25, to strengthen its efforts to promote women to positions of leadership. To that end, the Committee urges the State party to increase the availability of training and capacity-building programmes for women wishing to enter or already in public office and to enhance its awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of women's participation in political and public life.
29. Recalling its previous concluding observations of 2004, the Committee notes with concern the persisting wage gap between men and women, women's higher unemployment rate, and women's concentration in certain sectors, namely agriculture, animal husbandry, and service. The Committee also notes that women are predominantly employed in the informal sector resulting in their exclusion from formal social security programmes. The Committee expresses concern about the persistence of discriminatory legislation, administrative regulations and practices in the labour market. Specific reference is made in this regard to provisions of the Labour Act, which prohibit the employment of women in night work and in work underground, the Factories Act, which does not recognize the specific health and reproductive needs of women, the Nigerian Police Regulations, which prohibit the enlistment of married women and require women officers to request permission to marry in writing. The Committee also notes with concern discriminatory practices in the private sector, particularly in the banking sector, with respect to maternity and marital status. The Committee further notes the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace and the absence of legislation and measures to address this.
31. While commending the State party for the measures taken to strengthen the national health system, including the recent approval by the National Assembly of the National Health Bill, as well as the adoption of policies and programmes to address various health challenges, the Committee reiterates its serious concern at the precarious situation of women's health, as well as the insufficient number and inadequate health-care facilities, particularly in rural areas. The Committee notes that responsibility for the provision of health services is currently divided across the three tiers of government, with local governments responsible for the primary health-care system. It notes with concern that primary health-care services and facilities are often inadequate in quality, number and funding. The Committee also expresses concern about the high rates of malaria and HIV/AIDS affecting women and girls in the country.
33. The Committee is especially concerned at the very high maternal mortality rate, the second highest in the world, and regrets that there has been no progress in reducing the maternal mortality rate since the consideration of the State party's combined fourth and fifth periodic report in 2004. The Committee also notes the various contributing factors, such as unsafe abortions and inadequate post-abortion care, early and child marriages, early pregnancies, high fertility rates and inadequate family planning services, the low rates of contraceptive usage leading to unwanted and unplanned pregnancies and the lack of sex education, especially in rural areas. The Committee expresses concern about the lack of access by women and girls to adequate health-care services, including pre-natal and post-natal care, obstetric services and family planning information, particularly in rural areas.
35. While taking note of the State party's comprehensive development and poverty reduction strategies implemented at the national, state and local levels, as well as initiatives to address women's economic empowerment, such as the Women's Fund for Economic Empowerment and the Business Development Fund for Women, the Committee is concerned that widespread poverty among women, particularly rural women and women head of households, as well as poor socio-economic conditions are among the causes of the violation of women's human rights and discrimination against women. It notes with concern that discriminatory practices with regard to land ownership, administration of property and inheritance, limit women's access to economic resources, as well as credit and loan facilities. The Committee is especially concerned about the situation of rural women, particularly in view of their precarious living conditions and lack of access to justice, health care, education, credit facilities, economic opportunities and community services.
38. The Committee requests the State party to pay particular attention to the needs of internally-displaced women, including women with disabilities, through the adoption of a national policy on displacement in line with Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820, and the formulation and implementation of gender-sensitive plans and programmes for social re-integration, capacity-building and training of internally-displaced persons. It also recommends that the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender and Peacekeeping pay particular attention to the situation of internally-displaced women. The Committee also requests the State party to ensure the protection of internally-displaced women from violence and their access to immediate means of redress."
"About 92% of Nigerians trafficked to Europe for prostitution come from Edo State of Nigeria. Initially, most came from Benin City, the capital of Edo State, and from cities in Delta State, (p.23)."
"Human trafficking has flourished due to the lacklustre attitude of law enforcement and a weak legal framework which mainly focuses on trafficking for sexual exploitation. Generally, law enforcement agents are ill equipped and lack the technical know-how and gender sensitivity to handle cases. Trafficked persons often allege that some Nigerian officials collude with traffickers by assisting them with forged documents and then facilitate their movement across borders and through ports.60 Law enforcement agents are usually reluctant to investigate violent crimes, especially those against women and children who are unable to pay the costs of investigations or bribe the investigating officers. Thus, perpetrators of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking largely go unpunished in Nigeria. As for foreign trafficked persons, they are often treated as illegal immigrants and deported without thorough investigation. As a result, a combination of corrupt officials, complicit authorities, and weak laws combine to guarantee impunity for traffickers while increasing the plight of trafficked persons.61 Many non-governmental organizations and women's right organizations continue to protest against the government's inability to prosecute well-known traffickers: the conviction of traffickers is quite rare, and even if convicted they are typically released within a short period of time."
"In January, the Federal Minister of Women's Affairs expressed the government's intention to promote gender equality as well as the welfare and rights of Nigerian women and children. However, violence against women remained pervasive, including domestic violence, rape and other sexual violence by state officials and private individuals. The underlying factors included the entrenched culture of impunity for human rights violations committed by the police and security forces, and the authorities' consistent failure to exercise due diligence in preventing and addressing sexual violence by both state and non-state actors. In May a bill to implement the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women failed to pass in the National Assembly. Nigeria ratified the Convention in 1985.The Domestic Violence and Other Related Matters Bill was passed by the Lagos House of Assembly. At federal level, a bill addressing domestic violence failed to become law. The Nigeria Law Reforms Commission proposed in August that rape should carry a 15-year jail term."
"Widespread government corruption, political and intercommunal violence, police torture and other abuses continue to deny ordinary Nigerians their basic human rights. During 2007 Nigerian government actors including the police, military, and elected officials committed serious and persistent abuses against Nigerian citizens with near-complete impunity. Hopes for improvement in the human rights situation were dashed when the April 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections were marred by fraud, violence, and intimidation so pervasive as to destroy all confidence in the results.
The violence and fraud surrounding elections reflected entrenched patterns of corruption and human rights abuse that have long pervaded Nigeria's political system. The country has earned well over US$223 billion in oil revenues since the end of military rule in 1999, but millions of Nigerians still lack access to basic health and education services because so much of the money has been lost to corruption and mismanagement.
Rule of Law and Impunity
Politically powerful individuals and members of Nigeria's security forces who stand accused of serious human rights abuses and other crimes are seldom held to account.
Law enforcement agencies have also subverted the rule of law. Police openly and routinely torture criminal suspects and others, and have killed more than 8,000 Nigerians in the past eight years; the police carried out 785 largely unexplained killings of alleged "armed robbers" during the current inspector general's first 90 days in office in 2007."
"NIGERIA (Tier 2)
Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Within Nigeria, women and girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, and boys are trafficked for forced begging by religious teachers, as well as forced labor in street vending, agriculture, mining, stone quarries, and domestic servitude. Transnationally, women, girls, and boys are trafficked between Nigeria and other West and Central African countries, primarily Gabon, Cameroon, Benin, Niger, The Gambia and Ghana, for the same purposes listed above. Benin is a primary source country for boys and girls trafficked for forced labor in Nigeria's granite quarries. Nigerian women and girls are also trafficked to North Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Europe, most notably to Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Norway, and Greece. Nigeria's Edo state is a primary source area for woman and girls trafficked to Italy for sexual exploitation. In 2004, Nigeria's National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) reported that 46 percent of Nigerian victims of transnational trafficking are children, with the majority of them being girls trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. An increasing trend, reported on widely in the last year by the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the international press, is the trafficking of African boys and girls from Lagos to the U.K.'s urban centers, including London, Birmingham and Manchester, for domestic servitude and forced labor in restaurants and shops. Some of the victims are Nigerian, while others are trafficked from other African countries through Lagos.
The Government of Nigeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Nigeria continued to demonstrate a solid commitment to eradicating trafficking. Although NAPTIP made solid efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, the relative number of convicted traffickers remained low. While Nigeria assisted an increased number of victims, the quality of care provided was compromised by inadequate funding to shelters.
Recommendations for Nigeria: Increase efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders; allocate increased funds to collecting evidence for trafficking prosecutions and to victim care at NAPTIP's shelters; increase trafficking training for judges; offer expanded legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face danger or retribution; and improve trafficking and crime data collection mechanisms.
The Government of Nigeria continued to combat trafficking through modest law enforcement efforts during the last year. Nigeria prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, which was amended in 2005 to increase penalties for traffickers, and its 2003 Child Rights Act. Prescribed penalties of five years' imprisonment for labor trafficking, 10 years' imprisonment for trafficking of children for forced begging or hawking, and a maximum of life imprisonment for sex trafficking are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. During the last year, NAPTIP reported investigating 114 trafficking cases, 62 of which were prosecuted. Of the 62 cases, seven resulted in convictions and 51 are still pending in the court. Sentences imposed on convicted trafficking offenders ranged from one to 10 years' imprisonment. This law enforcement data, however, primarily reflects cases handled by NAPTIP's headquarters in Abuja. Trafficking data collected at the Agency's five other zonal offices are not systematically collected by NAPTIP's headquarters. Judicial effectiveness in punishing trafficking crimes is hampered by a lack of funding for thorough investigations and a lack of awareness of trafficking among judges, many of whom conflate trafficking with smuggling. Over the year, NAPTIP cooperated with law enforcement counterparts in Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Norway, and Belgium to break up an international ring comprised of over 20 traffickers. During the year, the government extradited a man wanted to stand trial for trafficking a 14-year-old Nigerian girl to the United States. NAPTIP also collaborated with other African governments during the year on trafficking cases, most notably those of Benin, Togo, and Cameroon.
The government trained 750 police, immigration, customs, and border security officials about trafficking during the reporting period. NAPTIP also provided anti-trafficking training to Nigerian embassy and consulate authorities posted in source countries. In addition, Nigeria contributed training materials and instructors to a donor-funded law enforcement ant trafficking training program.
The Nigerian government continued steady efforts to protect trafficking victims during the last year. NAPTIP continued to operate seven shelters throughout the country in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Sokoto, Enugu, Uyo, and Benin City. However, due to inadequate funding, some shelters were not well-maintained, and they offered limited rehabilitation care and no reintegration services. Despite a documented significant trafficking problem in Nigeria, NAPTIP shelters were not well used. In January 2008, for example, the Lagos shelter, with a capacity for 120 victims, housed only 15 victims. The government refers victims to NGOs on an ad hoc basis, but employs no formal, systematic procedures for referring victims to service providers. NAPTIP has agreements with hospitals and clinics, however, to provide care to victims with HIV/AIDS. NAPTIP reported rescuing 800 victims, and providing assistance to 695. During the year Nigerian and Beninese authorities implemented the terms of their joint ant trafficking plan of action by repatriating 47 Beninese children found trafficked to some of Nigeria's stone quarries during the year. NAPTIP also collaborated with Togolese officials to repatriate two victims back to Togo. NAPTIP provided trainers and other personnel to assist a foreign donor to train 34 government counselors on strategies for caring for trafficking victims. NAPTIP encourages victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking crimes, as victim testimony is usually required to prosecute traffickers. Because cases take so long to go to trial, however, victims have often returned to their home communities by the time their testimony is needed in court. Frequently, they are unwilling or unable to return to the court to testify. Victims also often refuse to testify due to fear of retribution. Nigeria provides a limited legal alternative to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution short-term residency that cannot be extended. The government places foreign victims in shelters under guard until they are repatriated.
Although there were no reports of victims inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked, police do not always follow procedures to identify trafficking victims among females arrested for prostitution.
The government is hesitant to conduct raids on brothels and typical raid tactics are not sensitive to trafficking victims.
The Government of Nigeria took some steps to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. NAPTIP's public enlightenment division erected billboards and posters carrying anti-trafficking public awareness messages and hosted antitrafficking forums in villages. The government also aired anti-trafficking public service announcements.
Recent reforms tightening immigration laws related to the issuance of passports are expected to yield a decrease in trafficking. Nigerian troops receive anti-trafficking awareness training through a donor funded program before being deployed abroad as part of peacekeeping missions for ACOTA. A national anti-trafficking forum, established by NAPTIP in 2003, met regularly in each state as well as in the six regional zones. The government did not, however, take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts within Nigeria."
"KANO, 7 July 2008 (IRIN) - The trafficking of girls from villages to cities in Nigeria is increasing and the state is powerless to stop the trade, officials told IRIN.
"The business of recruiting teenage girls as domestic help in rich and middle-class homes is booming despite our efforts to put a stop to it", Bello Ahmed, head of the Kano office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), told IRIN.
Girls aged 12-17 are regularly trafficked from villages and brought to the city to work as maids for an average monthly wage of 1,500 naira (US$13) which they usually send back to their parents who are caring for several of their siblings, according to Ahmed.
"Apart from being denied access to education, these girls are in many cases raped and beaten by their employers and this is why we keep a dormitory to rehabilitate them", Ahmed said.
Although NAPTIP has managed to stop the practice of teenage girls being ferried in trucks from villages to the cities "like chickens", Ahmed admitted his agency had failed to stop the trade.
"The more the law enforcement agencies perfect their strategies at stopping the business, the more the perpetrators become more sophisticated in running their trade", he said.
Lack of legislation to prosecute the traffickers makes NAPTIP unable to take legal action against traffickers even when they are arrested, according to Ahmed."
"Nigerian women are trafficked to Europe predominantly to earn money for others from commercial sex, especially in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The UNICEF has reported that 80 per cent of young women engaged in sex work in Italy are Nigerians (UNICEF, 2002).South Africa and the United States are also destination countries, while the United Kingdom and Ireland are countries of transit as well as destination for Nigerian women. 
In Nigeria, human trafficking is often conflated with sex work. This misconception became obvious in a particular incident in the 1990s involving the massive deportation from Italy of trafficked women and girls who mostly came from Nigeria's Edo State in the south. Most of the women and girls had been trafficked for sexual purposes. The reaction of the public to these deportations and the subsequent sensational media coverage of the incidents were to assume erroneously that all cases of trafficking were for purposes of sex work, and, worse still, to stereotype victims of trafficking as women from Edo State only. Trafficking for labour exploitation, internal trafficking and trafficking of persons into Nigeria have not so far received commensurate attention.
The equation of human trafficking with sex work has further worsened the abuse suffered by trafficked persons, who, irrespective of the form of labour they are trafficked for, on arrival back in Nigeria, are considered sex workers. This is best appreciated in the case of the deportation of Nigerian girls from Europe. An Anti-Slavery International report (Pearson, 2002, 169) referred to the Nigerian situation thus: "The procedures facing deported nationals in Nigeria violate basic human rights by discriminating against and stigmatising women as sex workers, forcing them to undergo STD tests and preventing them from leaving the country legally again. 
The deficiencies in the NAPTIPAct regarding the protection of victims and witnesses have made it difficult to secure the testimonies of victims and witnesses for use in prosecutions, as they fear reprisals from traffickers. In its first two years of existence, only two cases were successfully prosecuted to conviction under the law, despite the thousands of trafficking transactions taking place in Nigeria. To the extent that the NAPTIPAct lacks effective victim or witness protection, it has not complied with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights'Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking (Guidelines 6 and 9). 
Since the NAPTIPAct was adopted, there have been eleven successful prosecutions of traffickers and thirty-two cases pending in court. The kinds of trafficking involved ranged from outright sale, child domestic work, forced prostitution and other forms. [150.]
Impact of Anti-Trafficking Initiatives on Trafficked Persons
Most assistance programmes in Nigeria are based on the 'rescue and rehabilitation' model. Though these programmes are designed to benefit trafficked persons, the individuals managing them seem to have little understanding of the issues. Recovery work most often focuses on repatriated victims and children who have been rescued through raids on labour camps or who have been deported as illegal immigrants engaged in sex work abroad. Many NGOs which help trafficked persons in the recovery process round up returnee victims and run vocational courses without assessing their interest or aptitude for that specific skill. Victims have no involvement in making decisions about the courses or their contents, nor are there systematic efforts to find out if they benefited from the courses afterwards or if these should be modified to be more useful. An example of a rehabilitation project that has proved to be less successful (though not significantly less successful than a lot of others) was the ALNIMA Project in Edo State, instituted in 2003 by the European Network for HIV/STI Prevention and Health Promotion Among Migrant Sex Workers (TAMPEP a European network of NGOs, based in Italy). The project, which lasted for one year, was evaluated as recording only 40 per cent success because of poor planning, lack of consultation and improper assessment of the needs of the beneficiaries. Eighty per cent of the beneficiaries reportedly walked out on the rehabilitation programme and found their way back to Italy. Many of them had been working voluntarily in the sex industry and were resentful at being 'rescued' and deported against their wishes, as it resulted in the deprivation of their livelihood.44 The 'rehabilitation' mentality is also reflected in the NAPTIP Act, which, for instance, uses the term broadly and permits detention45 of trafficked persons "where the circumstances so justify". Some of the actions construed by the Act as rehabilitation include: counselling, skills acquisition, and family tracing and reunion. The real issue here and throughout this study is whether NGOs and government agencies often assume Nigerians to have been trafficked when they have not been or whether these people were in fact trafficked, but were so keen to go on earning a living that they felt propelled back to Europe and other destinations where they were previously exploited.
The process of return/repatriation of trafficked persons is fraught with abuses of their human rights. Most of the deported persons are not treated as victims of trafficking, but are regarded as criminals and illegal aliens by law enforcement agents both in the countries from which they are deported and in Nigeria. There have been reports of Nigerian women being subjected to various forms of physical abuse and humiliation while in the custody of law enforcement agents (UNODC/UNICRI, 2004, 35). International standards require that return and repatriation procedures should ensure the security of victims and their subsequent reintegration (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' Recommended Principles and Guidelines, Guideline 6.8). Usually Nigerians who have been making money from commercial sex in Europe are repatriated on chartered aircraft, escorted by security agents and sometimes still wearing the same clothes they had on when trying to earn money on the streets. There are also reports that, contrary to human rights principles, the repatriated trafficked persons are not permitted to return with their money or properties, thus violating Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property, and Article 15 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. They are also not allowed to remain in the country long enough to obtain money they are owed (for example, as unpaid earnings), let alone to seek compensation or damages. In fact, trafficked persons should be allowed to stay in the host country for the period necessary to undertake penal proceedings against the traffickers and make a civil law case for recovery of unpaid wages and other compensation. [216-217]
"Rev. Ejeh and Agbogun (Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria/Caritas Nigeria) considered that the NPF has the capacity to protect victims from traffickers. However, as the NPF is known to suffer from prevalent corruption, there is no guarantee that the victims will be protected.[p.18]
Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) confirmed that the Anti-Human Trafficking Units of NIS and NPF are not flawed by corruption as the NPF is, and the two Anti-Human Trafficking Units are better trained and informed about the trafficking issue which means that they show empathy in their approach to the victims of trafficking. However, many ordinary police officers in the NPF are often unaware about the problem of trafficking and they do not understand questions related to this issue."[p.18]
About risk of reprisals against victims of trafficking:
"Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW) had no information as to whether a victim of trafficking had been severely persecuted or killed by traffickers in Nigeria. It was added that the trafficker's objective is to get his money back, and that is why the involved family and the trafficker very often will see to it that the returned victim will be re-trafficked. Re-trafficking is a very common phenomenon.
In contrast to Rev. Sister Florence (COSUDOW), Jane Osagie (IRRRAG) considered that returned victims of trafficking are vulnerable as they face serious dangers in Nigeria. Traffickers will persecute the returnees if they are still indebted to these traffickers and the victims are frightened, as they strongly believe that they are obliged by the oath that they took before leaving Nigeria. The victims fear for the consequences if they do not or cannot pay their debt, and at the same time, many victims are seriously traumatized from their experiences abroad.
Jane Osagie (IRRRAG) explained that she did not have any precise information on the level of maltreatment of returning victims by traffickers. On the other hand, there are reports confirming that traffickers expose their victims to various forms of intimidation.
When asked about the scope of persecution and reprisals on victims of trafficking that have not paid their debt upon their return to Nigeria, Jane Osagie (IRRRAG) explained that NAPTIP would be the source of such information. IRRRAG does not have adequate information of the scale of persecution by traffickers.
Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) stated that since 2003, threats of reprisal from traffickers have never resulted in the loss of the life of victims."[p.26]
De Cataldo (IOM) stated that retribution against the victim or the family cannot be excluded, and Section 50 (j) of the Government Notices Nos. 156 and 209 of 2003 and 2005 (Harmonized Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administrative Acts, 2003 and 2005 addresses the problem:
"a trafficked person and his family are protected from intimidation, threats, and reprisals from traffickers and their associates including reprisals from persons of authority""[p.27]
"5 Protection and support mechanisms
The delegation asked IOM if is possible to cooperate with NAPTIP on victim assistance. De Cataldo (IOM) responded positively, and noted that cooperation with NAPTIP at an early stage is essential to ensure the welfare of the victim and aid in the investigation of Nigerian trafficking rings in Europe, due to the complexity of such investigations when it comes to identify the structure of trafficking rings and their modus operandi. De Cataldo (IOM) noted that attention should be given to ethnic/tribal aspects, which might play a role in the functioning of trafficking rings. The cooperation with NAPTIP can be useful, as law enforcement agencies in Europe might not have sufficient background information on Nigerian specific trafficking rings. The exchange of liaison officers between Nigeria and EU countries can be considered a best practice to implement.
The delegation noted that some European countries have a small number of Nigerian asylum requests associated with trafficking in persons and queried the security risks that might be associated in cooperation with law enforcement agencies or the potential for other risks for a trafficked persons upon return to Nigeria. De Cataldo (IOM) noted that the repatriation process must include a security risk assessment, and that such assessments should be conducted in cooperation with NAPTIP. IOM has positive experience on this in the context of repatriation operations from third countries.
De Cataldo (IOM), generally noted that each case should be assessed in an effort to confirm all the facts, especially when the asylum seeker appears to be confused as to the specific nature of the threats/persecution that she/he fears.
Regarding a security risk assessment conducted in cooperation with NAPTIP, Oguejiofor (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) confirmed that NAPTIP has the capacity to conduct security risk assessment on the basis of threat to the life of victims and to the families or relatives of the victims.
Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) added that NAPTIP conducts risk assessments of victims in order to assist in the best way and any victim can stay in the shelter of NAPTIP for as long as is needed and the victim can even be transferred to another shelter in the country." [p.34]
"Fapohunda (LRC) explained that NAPTIP does it utmost to perform its duties and the agency is trying to be efficient and it is definitely more efficient that most other state institutions in Nigeria. NAPTIP lacks resources and even though some donors have supplied assistance to NAPTIP, this has not been followed up by sufficient government funds. The lack of resources means that it can be difficult for NAPTIP to provide protection for all victims of trafficking. However, Fapohunda (LRC) considered that NAPTIP is genuine in its fight against trafficking.
When asked why it can be difficult for NAPTIP to provide protection for all victims of trafficking even if such victims are returning on a case-by-case basis and not in planeloads, Fapohunda (LRC) explained that his comment was not based on any consideration of returns either on an individual scale or large scale, but on an appreciation on what is the reality on the ground. The reality of the Nigerian criminal justice system is that it offers little or no protection for victims of crime. There is presently a bill before the parliament on this matter but this is not priority. Also it was Fapohunda's (LRC) view that quite apart from legislative limitations, the resources allocated to the NPF and NAPTIP is neither sufficient or adequate to offer the kind of protection (even on an individual basis) that will, at the very least, meet minimum international standards. Nigeria has not invested in its justice system; the casualty of this lack of investment is essentially poor justice institutions. Fapohunda (LRC) added that NAPTIP is a government body within the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) considered that NAPTIP is committed to assisting victims of trafficking but it lacks personnel, and its staff lack training.
Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) expressed doubt as to whether NAPTIP is capable of protecting victims against traffickers, as NAPTIP might lack the resources and the technical know-how to protect victims. On the other hand, Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) had no doubt that NAPTIP has the will to try to do its outmost to protect victims in need of protection." [p.35]
"Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) stated that none of the victims who have been through the NAPTIP shelter in Lagos have been subjects of persecution by their traffickers and this is why it is so important that NAPTIP is notified about returns of victims from abroad. It was explained that the normal time spent in the shelter is about two weeks. However, if the victim is in need of an extended period of time in the shelter this will be granted.
Morka (NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office) stressed that NAPTIP can offer protection to victims who give evidence against traffickers for as long as the criminal case is pending in the court system or for as long as is needed. In one case a witness stayed in NAPTIP's shelter for nine months. NAPTIP informs the local police about the case in order to monitor the victim who testifies against the trafficker." [p.37]
"5.1.1 NAPTIP's protection capacity
Ndaguba (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) stated that NAPTIP is able to offer victims full protection against physical violence from the agents of trafficking and this includes victims who have testified against traffickers abroad or in Nigeria or are indebted to their agents or Madams.
Babandede (NAPTIP Abuja Headquarters) also emphasized that NAPTIP has the capacity to support and protect returning victims of trafficking who have expressed fear of retaliation, acts of revenge or persecution by agents.
De Cataldo (IOM) stated that it is important to note that protection requires the victim to cooperate with the authorities and seek protection as the case may be. Upon receiving threats the victims should inform the appropriate authorities.
Concluding, De Cataldo (IOM) noted that NAPTIP and the Nigeria Immigration Service are an expression of the efforts that Nigeria is making to "turning around the table". [pp.38-39]
"Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) warned that there is too much generalisation regarding the ability of for instance NAPTIP and its capacity to protect victims of trafficking and its ability to offer re-integration support for those victims. Therefore, it is very important that all cases of trafficking are handled on a case-to-case basis and that the victims are offered a temporary residence permit in their host country.
Finally, Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) stated that WOCON can offer victims some help such as legal and general human rights counselling as well as provide some immediate basic needs, but WOCON does not have the capacity to offer protection against traffickers if this is needed. In such cases WOCON refers the victim to NAPTIP.
It was added by Olateru-Olagbegi (WOCON) that this referral from WOCON to NAPTIP take place in the hope that NAPTIP will do its utmost to protect and investigate these cases. However, it is a problem that NAPTIP's own investigators are not always able to ensure that traffickers are prosecuted and she pointed to the fact that there are too many unresolved cases of trafficking in Nigeria, which means that one can never be certain that a trafficker will be prosecuted. It was added that NAPTIP must improve its results if this will work as a deterrent for other traffickers." [p.40]
"Roland Chigozie (Idia Renaissance) explained that Idia Renaissance refers victims of trafficking who approach the organisation to NAPTIP's shelter in Benin City, but Idia Renaissance offer counselling and vocational training in its own centre. So far, Idia Renaissance has rehabilitated over 240 victims of human trafficking. This year (2007) Idia Renaissance has rehabilitated 30 girls and women referred by NAPTIP and five victims are currently being rehabilitated; the centre currently houses two of them because their families have rejected them. Idia Renaissance and IOM formerly ran this shelter jointly."[p45]
"1.17 According to UNIFEM, there are basically four scenarios for women who relocate within Nigeria in order to avoid FGM, forced marriage or domestic violence:
She can approach the local church/mosque or religious establishment and seek assistance from the leadership.
She can approach friends or relatives who are willing to hide her.
She can approach NGOs working on women's human rights. (However, these NGOs may only be known to women in those urban settlements, towns or cities where the organisations are active).
She can take to the street. This is a frequent scenario for young women or women who do not have the capacity or the means to do otherwise. Some of these may end up in brothels or are vulnerable to being trafficked.
1.18 UNIFEM added that attractive young, single women, in particular, are very vulnerable to abuse, harassment and trafficking when relocating to another area without economic means or family networks. Regarding internal relocation, UNIFEM explained that the vast majority of women seeking protection against domestic violence, forced marriage or FGM, including women who wish to protect their daughters against FGM, have the tendency to first relocate to a safe place not far from their home area. They may even relocate several times within their familiar locality if necessary.
1.19 BAOBAB stated that from a legal point of view, internal relocation is an option for any woman in Nigeria because there is full freedom of movement in the country. However, this first step - even to take a bus - can be difficult as women are dependent on their relatives, family or husbands, and may not have the money to allow them to relocate. As a consequence of this, a woman will need relatives in her new location who are ready to accommodate her. It was emphasized that it is technically possible for victims of domestic violence, FGM or forced marriage to relocate in Nigeria, but economically it is not easy. Even language might pose a problem for women who relocate to areas where members of their own ethnic group do not live.
1.20 It was emphasized by BAOBAB that a woman can obtain physical protection by relocating to another area in Nigeria. Women who are economically independent, in particular, would stand a much better chance of sustaining themselves than women who are not. BAOBAB added that it is difficult to separate the question of physical protection from the social, cultural and/or humanitarian constraints involved in relocating. However, even women who have access to economic means could face difficulties in finding accommodation or a job as they are often stigmatised. BAOBAB further added that young women and/or single women, in particular, who have relocated within Nigeria, are vulnerable to unscrupulous men that may target these women. Some of them might even end up as commercial sex workers.
1.23 According to representatives of a UN organisation, many women relocate to escape domestic violence, forced marriage or FGM, even within their local or state area. However, women prefer to go to friends or relatives, rather than to a shelter. The general perception amongst Nigerians is that shelters hide battered women and women with many problems who have no relatives to turn to. Many women, even victims of violence themselves, do not want to be associated with such women. Moreover, women relocating from their homes are seen as violators of their own culture and may feel ashamed as a result. However, when there are no other alternatives women will seek protection in a shelter.
1.25 WACOL explained that it only knew of one shelter in Nigeria run by the government. This shelter is located in Abuja and the Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social Development administer it. However, WACOL had no further knowledge of this shelter, as it had never referred any woman to it. In addition to the governmental shelter in Abuja, there is also a NGO shelter that is run by the NGO Daughters of Abraham. This shelter is mainly reserved for victims of trafficking and prostitutes.
1.36 The Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social Development stated that the shelter of the Ministry was commissioned on 17 May 2007. The shelter opened and was fully operational in November 2007. The shelter is situated in an undisclosed location in Abuja in order to protect the women in the shelter against any kind of hostility from their perpetrators. The shelter can accommodate approximately 7 women at the same time. However this capacity can be extended if the need arises. Security staff is employed at the shelter.
1.37 The Ministry stated that since the opening of the shelter in November 2007, it has accommodated one woman and four children. However, this should be seen in the light of the fact that the shelter is fairly new. Furthermore, to most women a stay in a shelter is often seen as the last resort irrespective of whether the shelter is run by a NGO or by the government.
1.40 It was emphasized that women NGOs throughout Nigeria can refer any woman who needs shelter to the shelter in Abuja. Women can stay in the shelter for up to four or five months. During this time the women receive counselling from a department in the Ministry and attempts will be made to mediate between the women and the perpetrators. If reconciliation is not possible, the Ministry can offer the women legal assistance in taking their cases to the courts. There is not yet a budget in place to offer vocational training or education to the women who are staying in the shelter.
1.71 UNIFEM considered the existence of the so-called Gender Desks in some police stations as mentioned by some NGOs consulted by the delegation as a very positive step in assisting victims of domestic violence, FGM and forced marriage. However, the Gender Desks only exist in three police stations in Enugu State (being just one out of 36 states in Nigeria) and concentrated in the state capital, contradicting the statement by WRAPA that desks had been established in Abuja and Lagos (see para 1.67).
1.72 BAOBAB added that enforcement agencies are not sensitised to take women's issues seriously. However, some police stations have established Gender Desks and they cooperate with women NGOs. In some cases, the police will even refer women to BAOBAB. It was added that even though the police and other government bodies and social services do not lack the resources to assist female victims of domestic violence, forced marriage and FGM, they often do not have the will to assist. In addition, there is a lack of political will to address women's issues. This is due to a general negative perception of women; gender stereotyping and the view that violence against women is often considered to be a private matter.
1.74 Finally, BAOBAB stressed that a violent husband should not be considered as a 'husband' but as a 'perpetrator'. However, law enforcement agencies only rarely assist, and only Ebonyi State has passed a law against domestic violence. Accordingly, the police often do nothing to assist the woman as they regard it more as a 'private affair'. WACOL was aware that churches provides counselling to women, because some have come to WACOL either recommended by the church or after the church could not handle the case. However, WACOL was not aware that churches provide protection but women do actually go to churches for assistance. WRAPA confirmed that mosques and churches provide a temporary safe haven for women in need and many women do seek sanctuary in churches and mosques. Often these institutions will try to reconcile the parties, but in those cases where the leaders consider that this is no longer an option, they will refer the women to NGOs like WRAPA for further assistance.
1.76 Most women have strong confidence in their religious leaders who have an enormous influence in local communities, but in Nigeria, as in most parts of Africa, religious beliefs run deep and the fear of the supernatural is absolute. As a result, religious leaders wield absolute power and command unquestioning devotion from their adherents. There are reported examples of such leaders having abused women who sought refuge in their care.
Social and humanitarian constraints
1.79 Representatives of a UN organisation explained that there are a number of social and humanitarian constraints on women who consider relocating in Nigeria. These constraints include:
Lack of information on the part of the women themselves.
Level of empowerment.
Fear of leaving their own environment and to be seen as defiant of their own cultural norms and practices.
Lack of accommodation and job opportunities. Fear of losing their own social network.
1.80 WACOL believed that, in general, it would be difficult for a girl or a woman to relocate in Nigeria without relations who can assist her. WACOL considered that if an underage girl does not want to enter into a marriage, and she is ready to relocate elsewhere in Nigeria in order to escape the marriage, it is a precondition that she has a family member or relative in the new location that is ready to support her. Furthermore, regarding forced marriage it was emphasized that internal relocation might be much more difficult for a daughter/woman of an influential family than for a daughter/woman of an ordinary family. A daughter/woman from an influential family might find it more difficult to find a location in the country where she would not be recognised and maybe returned to her family or husband.
1.83 UNIFEM considered that, in practical terms, if a woman chooses to relocate she could face a number of economic and social constraints depending on her situation. The woman would be in a more favourable situation if she has an economic foundation of her own in the form of savings, which can sustain her until she can get a job. There is no social security system in Nigeria that can support a woman without any means of existence.
1.84 It would also be easier for a woman to relocate if she has a relative or a friend in the new location who would be willing to support her in the initial phase. Married women may have two families to choose from when it comes to whom they turn to for protection and safety. If the woman has no one to receive or accommodate her she might end up living in the street. According to Sections 405-409 of the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act 1960, she might then even be arrested in the northern part of the country as a 'vagabond'. The question of the economic and social constraints facing a woman who has decided to relocate very much depends on the specific situation of the woman.
1.85 UNIFEM explained that in general there is a strong desire to maintain the unity of the family and this means that families, NGOs and religious leaders will try hard to reconcile the wife and the violent husband. For a wife to leave her family, even if her husband is violent, is almost considered a taboo.
1.86 BAOBAB explained that if the woman has family or relatives in the new location, they may listen to her and try to support her, but they may not be in a position to help her to secure a sustainable living. Culturally, the woman will often be expected to return and stay with her husband. It was added that traditional Nigerian culture expects women to be subservient to their husbands even when the women are living with a violent husband.
1.88 BAOBAB explained that social welfare structures in Nigeria are not well equipped to perform their statutory and social functions. Accordingly women who have relocated will find that there are no shelters to protect them, no jobs, no access to justice, and they may find it difficult to be accommodated. In addition, gender stereotyping labels single women as "unattached" and they easily become vulnerable. Finally, laws are very often not implemented or enforced."
"UNODC reported in 2006 that, "In all countries [Benin, Nigeria and Togo] there are numerous5 NGOs involved in the area of human trafficking. A small number of NGOs seem to have established themselves as well-known, reliable and serious NGOs in each of the three countries involved in the study. They tend to work well with each other. There remains some competition with respect to funding, but it appears that many NGOs seem to have carved out their niche within which they work well with other organizations. It is not clear from this analysis whether the cooperation exists on a structural rather than on an incidental level."
"It is these same NGOs, which tend to coordinate their activities with government ministries and agencies. The working relationship between NGOs and government ministries varies depending upon the ministries and their functions. As can be seen from the data provided by the NGOs in Nigeria and Togo, the working relationship tends to be closest with the ministries providing social services. These include the Ministries of Education, Social Affairs, Women's and Children's Affairs. NGOs in Nigeria also appear to have a good working relationship with the police and NAPTIP." [p 17] [Our emphasis]
"In UNDOC's 2006 report Measures to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings in Benin, Nigeria and Togo, UNODC commented that Nigeria enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, in August 2003 commonly referred to as the Act. Prior to the passage of the Act, Nigeria depended on laws in the penal or the criminal code to deal with offences related to trafficking in humans. Trafficking cases were dealt with under provisions of the law applicable to the offences of slave trading, forced prostitution, abduction, sexual exploitation, deprivation of liberty, and forced labour. The most important elements of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 are briefly outlined below.
The law defines the act of trafficking as:
"All acts involved in the recruitment, transportation within or across Nigerian borders, purchases, sale, transfer, receipt or harbouring of a person, involving the use of deception, coercion or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding the person whether for or not in involuntary servitude (domestic, sexual or reproductive) in forced or bonded labour or in slavery-like conditions".
Twenty-six different sections of the Act define offences related to human trafficking. Sections 1128 define the specific offences of exporting and importing minors for prostitution purposes; the procurement of minors (with or without their consent) for forced seduction/prostitution; procuring minors or causing or encouraging the seduction or prostitution of minors within or outside Nigeria; procuring any person for prostitution/pornography, drug trafficking or armed conflict; organizing foreign travel for prostitution; unlawful detention of any person with intent to defile; procuring/defiling of minors by means of threats, fraud or administering of hard drugs; kidnapping of minors from guardianship; kidnapping/abduction of persons for culpable homicide; buying and selling of persons for any purpose; unlawful forced labour; trafficking in slaves and slave-dealing.
Even when the offences are committed abroad by Nigerians, the offenders are liable to punishment and forfeiture of assets in Nigeria upon their repatriation or return for "bringing the image of Nigeria to disrepute" in spite of having served an earlier punishment for the original offence abroad (Section 25). Alien offenders resident in Nigeria are punishable under the Act by imprisonment and subsequent deportation (Section 26). Attempts to commit any of the substantive offences are punishable under the Act (Section 27), and corporate bodies and their management staff are also punishable under the Act for attempts or commission of any of the offences created by the Act (Section 28).
In terms of punishment, the Act makes provisions for sanctions ranging from heavy monetary fines, imprisonment with or without option of fines, forfeiture of assets, forfeiture of passport by convicted offenders (Section 34), deportation or repatriation and liability for compensation to victims in civil proceedings. Jail terms range from 12 months (for attempts) to two years to life imprisonment depending on the degree of seriousness of the offence, while fines range from N50,000.00 (US$ 379) and N200,000.00 (US$ 1,517) for individual traffickers or managerial staff of corporate bodies.
Protection of victims of trafficking in Nigeria 12
The Act makes provision for the humane treatment, protection, and non-discriminatory practices towards victims of trafficking. These include access to rehabilitation facilities, temporary stay without valid documents and medical attention. (Sections 3637). Trafficked victims even have rights to institute civil actions against their traffickers irrespective of their immigration status (Section 38).
Additionally, the law creates an agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing, administering and managing the law prohibiting human trafficking and other related matters."[pp11 & 12]
"At the national level, the National Assembly in May 2003 passed a national Act on trafficking that provides for the setting up of a special agency, recognises that trafficked girls are victims and seeks to attach same level of seriousness to the prosecution of traffickers of persons, as is presently the case with drug traffickers. Its implementation modalities have commenced with the opening up of offices of the agency in states of the federation. The Edo State office of the agency led the prosecution and first ever conviction of a trafficker in the State recently. [our emphasis]
The impact of the efforts made by government and non-governmental agencies and organisations so far are enormous [our emphasis] and include:
Heightened awareness of the problem. Prior to the research by IRRRAG and WOCON documenting the incidence of trafficking in girls in 1999, though the indicators were visible, not many recognised that children and women were being trafficked both internally and externally. Since then however especially with the emergence of more NGOs addressing the issues including those of the wives of the Vice President and Governor of Edo State, interventions of international governmental and non-governmental agencies like UNODC, UNICEF and IOM, many urban dwellers are now aware of the difference between migration and trafficking and the resistance to the wiles of the traffickers has led them to move to rural areas for recruitment of new victims.
Legal reform arising from the efforts of anti-trafficking organisations include a national Act on trafficking, state laws on it and establishment of a federal agency to implement the provisions of the act.
Increased prosecution of traffickers although mostly unsuccessful due to the non-cooperation of victims and corruption can still be cited as an impact of anti-trafficking efforts. Daily, the traffickers change tactics and routes just to beat the law.
School curriculum adaptation to make for the teaching of information and skills to address the susceptibility of girls and children. The IOM in collaboration with Edo State government has tested this curriculum.
Reintegration and rehabilitation of victims. Many returned girls and others considered to be vulnerable to trafficking have received counselling, skills training and micro finance support to become self-employed and fully reintegrated into the society.
Research and publications on the issue are more available now than in the past as a result of the involvement of many groups.
Creation of networks and coalitions at local, state and national levels are a direct effect of the work done so far." [pp13 & 14]
Our Assessment of the Evidence
- screening interview record;
- Statement of Evidence Form and record of interview with appellant;
- the Home Office, Immigration and Nationality Directorate Asylum Case Work Directorate 69
- the Reasons for Refusal Letter dated 13th April, 2005 written by the respondent;
- the appellant's own statement of 4th April, 2005;
- a copy of a letter dated 20th May, 2005 from Eve's Housing for Women;
- a copy for the letter of 6th June, 2005, from Dr Capuzzo; and
- a copy for the appellant's medical record from Oakington Detention Centre.
"1. Whether the appellant [P] is a trafficked victim.
2. What is the influence of juju/black magic to human trafficking transactions in Nigeria?
3. Whether [P] should have sought the protection of the Nigerian authorities before seeking international protection?
4. Whether [P] is likely to face reprisals from her trafficker and gang in Nigeria and UK?
5. Whether [P] will face further abuse and persecution or risk of being re-trafficked were she to be returned to her home country, Nigeria?"
"Would a returning victim with a young baby be admitted to a NAPTIP centre? I should add that it has been suggested that NAPTIP would not admit such a victim as NAPTIP centres do not have adequate relevant facilities. Please comment.
Would a returning victim of trafficking with a baby be met at the airport?
Do NAPTIP centres have counselling and or medical facilities for victims who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder?"
"(i) Yes, a victim with a young baby will be admitted to a NAPTIP shelter without delay. It is erroneous to suggest that the Agency would not admit such a victim in her [sic] shelters presently, Abuja shelter has a 50 bed capacity, but it is also worthy of note to point out that the Agency also works in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs if the need for temporary fostering arises.
(ii) Yes, a returning victim with a baby will be met at the airport. The agency has been receiving victims from airports if it is necessary.
(iii) Yes, NAPTIP shelters have resident Nurses and Clinics and works in collaboration with both private and public Hospitals. We also have a Medical Doctor on call at the shelters.
(iv) Yes, NAPTIP shelters have social workers and Nurses who have undergone series of training in areas of psychology and psychotherapy and are ready to counsel and treat any victim who is suffering with post traumatic stress disorder."
"The Anti-Human Trafficking Units of NIS and NPF are not flawed by corruption as the NPF is and the two Anti-Human Trafficking Units are better trained and informed about the trafficking issue which means that they show empathy in their approach to the victims of trafficking."
Ability and Willingness of the Nigerian Authorities to offer Protection to Victims of Trafficking
(a) The Danish Information Service Report: The Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Nigeria: a Fact Finding Mission to Lagos, Benin City and Abuja, 9/26 September 2007 (April 2008) points out that the government of Nigeria have recognised the problem of traffickers and, since 2003, the legal and institutional foundation for combating trafficking and, equally important, support for victims of trafficking, have been in place in Nigeria.
(b) The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) is the principal organisation created by the Nigerian government to combat trafficking. The Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement Administration Act, 2003 established NAPTIP and was enacted as a direct result of Nigeria wishing to fulfil its international obligations under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
(c) NAPTIP's own Legal and Prosecution Department were said in the April 2008 report, to have concluded six cases and another five were said to be pending. 58 victims of trafficking have been rehabilitated, while another 24 were waiting rehabilitation. We accept that with more funds, NAPTIP could do more to help victims, but the same could be said of any government agency with a finite budget.
(d) The US State Department Report suggests that whilst Nigeria is not complying with minimum standards, it is "making significant efforts" to do so and has "demonstrated a solid commitment to eradicating trafficking". It also spoke of NAPTIP making solid efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, although the numbers of convicted traffickers remained low. There are clearly several reasons for that, but not, on the evidence before us, any lack of governmental effort or desire.
Risk to Victims of Trafficking in being Re-trafficked on Return to Nigeria
(a) A very careful examination of the circumstances in which the victim was first trafficked must be undertaken and careful findings made. If a victim has been told that she is required to earn a particular sum of money ("target earnings") for the trafficker or gang, before being free of any obligation to the trafficker or gang, then, if the victim should escape before earning the target sums, there may well be a risk to the victim that on return to Nigeria she may be re-trafficked if found. The extent of the risk of the trafficking will very much depend on the circumstances in which the victim was originally trafficked.
(b) It must always be remembered that within Nigeria there are gangs of people traffickers operating who generate enormous sums of money from their activities. The evidence seems to us to be clear that where a victim escapes the clutches of her traffickers before earning the target earnings, then the traffickers are very likely to go to extreme lengths in order to locate the victim or members of the victim's family, to seek reprisals.
(c) In the absence of evidence that a trafficked victim has been trafficked by an individual, it should be borne in mind that it is likely that the trafficking will have been carried out by a collection of individuals, many of whom may not have had personal contact with the victim. Within trafficking gangs, individual members perform different roles. One might, for example, be a photographer who takes the photograph which is used within the victim's passport, whether or not the passport is a genuine one. One gang member may, for example, be a forger who is involved in the preparation of false passports or other documents for use by the victim; one might be a corrupt police official, or a border guard, whose role is to assist in facilitating the victim's passage in some way. Gang members may perform any number of different roles but it is essential to bear in mind that if a victim has been trafficked by a gang of traffickers, as opposed to a single trafficker, then the risk of re-trafficking may be greater for someone who escapes before earning the target earnings set by the trafficker, because the individual gang members will have expected to receive a share of the target sum and will, therefore, be anxious to ensure that they do receive that share or seek retribution if they do not.
Our Conclusions in relation to the Appellant
"(1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
(2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of his right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, or the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
"(a) Will the proposed removal be interference by a public authority with the appellant's right to respect for her private or family life?
(b) If so, will such interference have consequences of such gravity as potentially to engage the operation of Article 8?
(c) If so, is such interference in accordance with the law?
(d) If so, is such interference necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others?
(e) If so, is such interference proportionate to the legitimate public end sought to be achieved?"
"Private life is a broad term not susceptible to exhaustive definition Article 8 protects a right to identity and personal development, and the right to establish relationships with other human beings and the outside world."
"While an interference with private or family life must be real if it is to engage Article 8(1), the threshold of engagement (the 'minimum level') is not a specially high one."
We are satisfied that such interference would have consequences of such gravity as to engage the operation of Article 8.
The appellant's asylum appeal is dismissed.
The appellant humanitarian protection appeal is dismissed.
The appellant's human rights appeal is dismissed.
Senior Immigration Judge Chalkley
UNESCO Policy Paper: Human Trafficking in Nigeria: Root Causes and Recommendations (Paris 2006)
Rural poverty portal: Rural poverty in Nigeria (7 March 2007)
Global Alliance against Traffic in Women (GAATW): Collateral Damage: The Impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights around the World (2007)
Human Rights Watch: World Report 2008: Nigeria (31 January 2008)
The Danish Immigration Service report: Protection of victims of trafficking in Nigeria a fact finding mission to Lagos Benin City and Abuja, 9-26 September 2007 (April 2008)
Amnesty International report: Human Rights in Federal Republic of Nigeria (28 May 2008)
US State Department of State report Trafficking in Persons Report 2008: Nigeria ('the TIP report') (4 June 2008)
Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2008 - Nigeria, (2 July 2008)
Integrated Regional Information Network News (IRIN): Nigeria: Trafficking for girls, abuse worsening (7 July 2008)
CEDAW report: Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Nigeria (18 July 2008)
Home Office UK Border Agency-Danish Immigration Service: Report of the Joint British-Danish Fact-Finding Mission to Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria; 9-27 September 2007 and 5-12 January 2008, (29 October 2008)
Country of Origin Information Service Report (COIS): Nigeria (5 December 2008)