The account on Nigeria was disclosed in the ‘Trafficking In Persons Report July 2022’ by the US Department of States, published on the White House website, obtained by our correspondent.

According to the report, criminal groups and brothel owners exploit Nigerian women and girls in sex trafficking across Nigeria and in Europe, including in France, Italy, Spain, and Austria.

“Traffickers commonly send victims to Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom for sexual exploitation. According to reports, 80 percent of women in Spain’s unlicensed brothels are victims of sex trafficking, with Nigerians forming a large percentage of that population.

“While some sex trafficking victims arrive in Europe believing they will be in commercial sex, traffickers coerce them to stay in commercial sex by altering working conditions and increasing victims’ travel debts,” the report stated.

It also stated that Nigerian traffickers residing within the country, in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, are the major facilitators of human trafficking in Nigeria.

It added, “Traffickers often threaten victims’ families in Nigeria to maintain control; illicit recruiters generally target women and girls from impoverished families and require them to take a loyalty oath to their traffickers.”

Meanwhile, it applauded the federal government for maintaining law enforcement efforts through the Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act (TIPLEAA), as amended in 2015, which criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking while prescribing a two years’ imprisonment and or a fine of 250,000 naira ($617) for both sex and labor trafficking offenses, among other legislations.

In its recommendation, the US called for effective coordination between relevant agencies.

It partly reads:

“Hold complicit officials as well as individuals affiliated with the government—including security officials and CJTF members—criminally accountable for trafficking offenses, including for the sex trafficking of IDPs and past unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers.

“Enhance coordination between National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on law enforcement efforts—including investigating illicit centers exploiting women in forced surrogacy—and prosecute suspects while respecting the rights of the accused.