US embassy cable - 02ABUJA820

NIGERIA: ITALY DEPORTS 152 TIP VICTIMS

Identifier: 02ABUJA820
Wikileaks: View 02ABUJA820 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2002-03-13 09:46:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: KCRM KWMN PHUM IT NI
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.

UNCLAS ABUJA 000820 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KCRM, KWMN, PHUM, IT, NI 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA:  ITALY DEPORTS 152 TIP VICTIMS 
 
REF: ABUJA 358 
 
 
 1.(SBU) The Italian Government on March 1 forcibly 
repatriated 152 trafficking victims using two chartered 
aircraft flown into Lagos.  RNLEO was at the Lagos airport 
for oversight of NDLEA drug interdiction efforts and was able 
to witness the arrival of the first Italian plane carrying 36 
women and girls.  Using two of the buses recently donated to 
the Nigerian police by the Italian government (reftel), the 
Anti-TIP Task Force received the returnees and transported 
them to a temporary holding facility in Ikoyi, Lagos.  This 
was soon after by the arrival of the second charter flight 
carrying 116 women and girls.  These receptions required 
heavy police security as traffickers and victims' relatives 
were at the airport attempting to gain access to the 
trafficking victims. 
 
 
2.(SBU) On March 4 INL FSN visited the police holding 
facility and met with Superintendent of Police Joseph 
Famakin, who works on the Police Anti-TIP Task Force. 
Famakin, who had organized the police reception of the 
returnees at the Lagos airport, claimed that the TIP victims 
would be released shortly, into the custody of either 
confirmed relatives or, if relatives were not located, to 
liaison officers of their home state.  As is the norm with 
the trafficking of Nigerian women and girls to Europe, the 
vast majority of this group are from Edo State. 
 
 
3.(SBU) Famakin told INL FSN that screening of the deported 
TIP victims had started almost immediately upon their arrival 
at the police holding center -- screening for identities and 
location of relatives, compulsory HIV/AIDS testing, and 
interviews for possible criminal evidence to be used in 
prosecuting the Nigerian traffickers responsible for the 
large exodus of women and girls to brothels in Europe. 
 
 
4.(SBU) Famakin stated that a particular challenge in this 
screening process was determining a girl's or woman's true 
identity since most traveled to Europe on fake or forged 
documents given them by traffickers.  The returned 
trafficking victims were also extremely reluctant to give 
disclose the identities of their traffickers, as they 
believed that voodoo rituals and native medicine they 
submitted to prior to being trafficked would curse them and 
result in their death or maiming if they gave criminal 
information to the police.  Though the deported girls and 
women were considered "victims" under the UN Protocol's 
definition, most were witting of their future as prostitutes 
in Europe when they depart Nigeria, claimed Famakin.  This 
further hinders the returnees' willingness to cooperate with 
law enforcement authorities.  He expressed hope, however, 
that the enactment of Nigeria's first TIP law (a draft bill 
is being reviewed by the National Assembly) would make 
prosecution of trafficking crimes easier, though he did not 
elaborate. 
 
 
5.(SBU) When contacted by RNLEO March 7, Famakin confirmed 
that the last of the group of deportees had left the 
detention facility for their homes in Edo State on March 6. 
Girls and women who tested positive for HIV/AIDS were 
released but ordered to present themselves to their state's 
Health Department, purportedly for treatment and counseling. 
 
 
6.(SBU) Comment:  The Federal Government has yet to match its 
impressive anti-TIP rhetoric with adequate funds for even the 
short-term care needed to cope with groups of rescued and 
returned trafficking victims.  Longer-term shelter and 
vocational training remains unavailable.  Therefore, on 
average over half of returned TIP victims are re-trafficked 
to Europe within weeks of being released from government 
custody. 
Andrews 

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