Nigerian judicial officers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials participated in a U.S.-funded retreat in Lagos focused on improving the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.

The programme was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

American officials and members of the judiciary and prosecutors at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) discussed the admissibility of electronic evidence in human trafficking cases under Nigerian law.

There was a robust dialogue on witness management and protection as well as sharing of best practices and insights on broad areas of prosecuting and adjudicating human trafficking cases under the Nigerian judicial system.

The U.S. Consul General, Claire Pierangelo noted that the retreat was a key component of a U.S.-funded rule of law project introduced in 2018 titled, “Strengthen the Capacities of State and Non-State Institutions to Assist, Support and Protect Victims of Trafficking (VoT) in Nigeria.”

“We are proud of our continued partnership with the Government of Nigeria with its continued efforts to build upon its successes in ensuring trafficking of persons and smuggling of migrant cases are prosecuted effectively and fairly and those convicted receive the appropriate penalties,” Pierangelo said.

She explained that the U.S. government in partnership with the UNODC Nigeria has been providing support to the Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Justice, NAPTIP and Nigeria Immigration Service, as well as civil society groups in different thematic areas of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

The Consul General highlighted achievements such as the establishment of a judiciary resource centre at NAPTIP headquarters in Abuja, which provides access to relevant tools and resources for officers when investigating and prosecuting trafficking in person cases.

Other key accomplishments include support for the establishment of state task forces against human trafficking across the country and the development of a series of awareness materials on trafficking in persons, produced for travel agents, airport personnel, flight crews, and passengers.