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The battle against human trafficking in Nigeria is enormous and a number of measures have been employed in ensuring that the progress in the said criminal act is brought to an end. The said criminal act had affected the liberty of many individuals as victims. Liberty as a fundamental right is an important element of an individual’s life as everything and inspiring are fashioned by persons who can labour in freedom. Hence, a human trafficking free country is a wealthy country. As such, Nigeria as a nation has provided adequate safeguards for the protection of its citizens against human trafficking. The research was informed by the increasing wave of human trafficking in Nigeria and an assertion by the former Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, Mrs. Jedy-Agba Beatrice that six out of ten trafficked persons are Nigerians. This is evidenced from the high number (10,815) of rescued victims of human trafficking by NAPTIP since inception to March, 2017, although, there is absence of accurate data on human trafficking in Nigeria. Human trafficking is a criminal act and a violation of fundamental human rights of the victims. The crime had resulted in promoting corruption in Nigeria and it had undermined the efforts of government at that direction. The research appraised the national legal frameworks that prohibit human trafficking in Nigeria. It also examined institutions established for the prohibition of human trafficking and protection of victims of the said trafficking in Nigeria. The research aimed at showing the role of law in prohibiting human trafficking in Nigeria. The research adopted as methodology the doctrinal approach which entailed the use of relevant literatures including national legislations, international instruments and reports. The research finds that Nigeria is a signatory to major international treaty on trafficking in persons and the prohibition of human trafficking is not directly addressed in the Nigeria constitution. It also finds the existence of institutions and other laws in Nigeria aimed at curtailing human trafficking amid challenges. The challenges include but not limited to difficulties in identifying victims of human trafficking and lack of cooperation after identification for the purpose of further investigation and prosecution of traffickers. The research therefore, recommended the amendments of the relevant human trafficking laws to streamline the provisions including the constitution. It also recommended concerted effort at curbing the menace of corruption in Nigeria.
1.1 Background to the Research
The people of African had experienced slavery and inhuman treatment. For example an
estimated 11.5 million people were taken from their ancestral homes as slaves to other
parts of the world1, using trickery, banditry, warfare, and kidnapping as modes of
operation. A calamity of such magnitude has no analogous in any other part of the
world. Slave capturing and exporting sapped Africa of millions of its abled, strongest
and most capable youths between the ages of 15 and 252. That is, between 15th and 19th
centuries, the productive segments of the African society were shiped out of Africa,
which permanently weakened the continent. This was followed by colonisation by
Europeans. All these engendered racism and contempt of Africans3, thereby destroying
the economic life of Africa and Nigeria in particular. The slave trade took place in
enormous volume between the 17th and 19th centuries, evidencing a darker historical era
that saw the removal of people from Africa, and Nigeria in particular to plantations in
Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean as slaves4. The indulgence in
slave trade became a holy cause for mistreatment that had the support of church5. A
desire for glory and profit from trade couple with missionary zeal brought Portuguese
navigator to West African coast and Nigeria in the late 15 century. Portugal‘s lasting
legacy for Nigeria is the initiation of Trans-Atlantic slave trade, as trade in slaves
proved to be more money-spinning than trade in gold. Consequently, Africans who
were interested in acquiring European goods such as cooking utensils, intoxicating
beverages, guns, ammunition and cloths were encouraged by the European slave traders
1 Kalu, V.E. International Juridical Response to 21st Century Slavery: Challenges for Nigeria’s Comatose Legislature. In: Chukkol, K.S., et al. (eds.) Contemporary Issues in Nigeria Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Law Journal (2003) p.143.
2 Elikia, M., The Impact of the Slave Trade on Africa-Le Monde-Diplomaque(2013), English Edition. p. 9 3 Ibid.
4Candice, G., et al. Commerce and Change: The Creation of a Global Economy and Expansion of E
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