US embassy cable - 01ABUJA3222


Identifier: 01ABUJA3222
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA3222 at
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-12-14 17:30:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

E.O. 12958:  N/A 
1. SUMMARY:  Embassy Abuja hosted a Trafficking in Persons 
(TIP) Conference which brought together representatives 
from nine USG missions in West and Central Africa and four 
funding agencies/bureaus in Washington to forge an anti- 
trafficking strategy for the region and coordinate future 
programs with other donors and international organizations. 
2. Representatives from U.S. Embassies in Togo, Benin, 
Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea and 
Nigeria joined Washington-based officials from DRL, INL, 
Department of Labor (DOL) and USAID for a two-day regional 
conference on Trafficking in Persons, hosted by Embassy 
Abuja and Consulate Lagos December 4-5.  This conference 
had been scheduled for October but was postponed after the 
attacks of September 11.  A representative of the U.S. 
Mission in Cameroon was invited but at the last minute 
could not attend. 
3. The first day of the conference, held at Consulate 
Lagos, involved only USG participants, allowing the sharing 
of information on trafficking profiles in the individual 
countries and trends in the region. Participants also 
learned of existing USG-funded programs that target TIP, 
including DOL's impressive $4.3 million nine-country 
regional program to fight child-trafficking through the 
ILO's International Program for the Elimination of Child 
Labor.  A representative from USAID/Washington's Office of 
Women in Development offered a briefing on USAID's 
Sustainable Tree Crop Program, an effort started with 
exclusively environmental goals but which has recently 
taken up the task of assessing the extent and underlying 
factors of child trafficking to the cocoa farms of Cote 
d'Ivoire.  Washington-based participants briefed the group 
on various Washington-based sources of funding for 
potential anti-TIP projects, including INL, ESF, DHRF, DOL 
and USAID DA monies. 
4. During the first's day working session the USG 
representatives reviewed and added to a draft strategy 
produced by the Africa Bureau's Regional Affairs Office. 
After developing an over-arching goal for the strategy, the 
group identified priority areas for USG anti-TIP programs, 
drafted several short and long-term objectives to be 
achieved under the three general categories of the USG's 
International Anti-TIP Policy - Protection, Prosecution and 
5. The group also produced a list of tactical tools with 
which to advance these objectives, namely: greater 
diplomatic advocacy, both public and private, of TIP- 
related issues; engagement of ECOWAS and other regional 
organizations; collaboration with other donors to fund 
programs of international organizations such as UNICEF, IOM 
and ILO-IPEC that are already active in this field in West 
and Central Africa; and improved intra-USG coordination of 
resources and programs aimed at the TIP problem in the West 
and Central African region.  (Note:  The revised draft 
strategy will be sent to AF/RA after the COM's of the 
participating U.S. Missions have had a chance to approve 
the draft. End note)  All agreed that the strategy should 
call for increased and better coordinated delivery of USG 
resources allocated for anti-trafficking projects in the 
6. The regional and Washington representatives agreed that 
voluntary prostitution, which is prevalent throughout the 
region, should not be addressed by the strategy; rather our 
collective efforts should be focused on the transnational 
trafficking of children for labor exploitation and the sex 
trafficking of girls and women (largely from Nigeria).  A 
consensus also emerged on the need to place top priority on 
prevention efforts, namely education and awareness 
campaigns.  This arose from the acknowledgement that 
attempts to rehabilitate the victims of trafficking in West 
and Central Africa are extremely difficult; preventing new 
victims is far more cost effective and prospects for 
success appear brighter as many at-risk populations do not 
appear well aware of the trafficking dangers. 
7. The second half of the conference, hosted by the 
Ambassador at his residence, invited the participation of 
five other donor governments represented by Nigeria-based 
diplomats (the Netherlands, Norway, and Italy) and visitors 
from London (Scotland Yard and National Criminal 
Intelligence Service) and Brussels (Belgian Ministry of 
Interior) as well as officials from the World Bank, the 
International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF, the 
UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP), 
ECOWAS, and the Special Assistant to President Obasanjo on 
Human Trafficking and Child Trafficking. 
8. The second day opened with an insightful briefing by 
Anne Kielland, A Norwegian Child Survival Specialist who 
had conducted a year-long research project into child 
trafficking for labor in Benin for the World Bank. 
Kielland briefed the group on the findings of her research, 
which drew on a sampling of 6,000 households of more than 
20,000 children -- making it the most reliable and 
comprehensive study done to date. 
9. Kielland's study found predictable general linkages 
between poverty and lack of education with a high incidence 
of trafficking.  Surprisingly, however, her data shows that 
it is the more affluent households within poor villages who 
traffic their children at a higher rate.  Kielland believes 
the economic expectations of these households are higher -- 
basically greed leading to the "commodification" of 
children -- and they have access to the networks outside of 
their villages allowing them to "place" their children with 
traffickers.  Also, the availability of primary education 
in a village has no positive effect on trafficking, but a 
secondary school does.  The presence of TVs and organized 
sports (soccer) seem to encourage trafficking; animist 
households tend to traffic more than Christian and Muslim 
family units. 
10.  The IOM briefed on its ongoing Nigeria program ($2.1 
million), which is funded by Belgium, the Netherlands and 
Italy, as well as a new 9-country regional program ($4 
million) it hopes to start next year.  (Comment: The 
Nigeria-based ILO-IPEC representative could not attend the 
conference to brief on the ILO-IPEC's $4.3 million, three- 
year program for nine countries, which is completely funded 
by USDOL and represents the largest USG anti-TIP commitment 
in the region. End Comment) UNICEF explained its expanding 
programs both regional and country-specific to combat child 
trafficking from children's rights perspective.  ECOWAS and 
UNODCCP described their nascent efforts to deal with 
trafficking by using the ECOWAS structure to improve legal 
provisions dealing with TIP within member states.  The 
group heard from the Nigerian President's Special Assistant 
on Human Trafficking and Child Labor on how the Obasanjo 
Administration has moved to address what is perceived as an 
alarming rise in trafficking in and out of Nigeria, 
including the President's plans to host a global summit on 
TIP in Abuja next year. 
11. Comment:  The conference gave the U.S. Missions in the 
region a valuable opportunity to exchange views on the 
trafficking problem as seen from their respective host 
countries as well to engage others donors and international 
organizations on improved coordination of anti-trafficking 
programs.  Once circulated among the Embassies in the 
region for approval by Chiefs of Mission, the draft 
strategy produced by the conference will be transmitted to 
the Department.  It should serve STATE/AF and other 
Washington offices/agencies as a good foundation for 
diplomatic and programmatic initiatives in the region.  We 
look to STATE/AF for approval and elaboration of the 
strategy, including clear next steps and possible 
commitments of new resources for USG anti-TIP efforts in 
the region. 

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