2,074 Persons Trafficked In Lagos In Five Years, 27 Convicted – NAPTIP

Over the past five years, Lagos State has emerged as the epicenter of human trafficking in Nigeria, with 2,074 individuals trafficked and only 27 convictions secured in connection with the crime.

This revelation comes from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), highlighting the severity of the situation in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Data from shows identified key areas as hotspots include Epe, Ikorodu, Agege, Apapa, and Iganmu, indicating a widespread and entrenched problem.

The statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request by The Guardian with assistance from Media Rights Agenda (MRA), paint a stark picture. 

Between 2019 and 2023, NAPTIP arrested 429 suspects involved in human trafficking. Detailed figures show 96 suspects (57 males and 39 females) were apprehended in 2019, 102 suspects (55 males and 47 females) in 2020, 73 suspects (42 males and 31 females) in 2021, 85 suspects (37 males and 48 females) in 2022, and 74 suspects (35 males and 39 females) in 2023.

Despite these arrests, the number of successful prosecutions remains disappointingly low. Over the five-year period, only 27 traffickers were convicted.

 In 2019, three individuals were convicted, followed by three more in 2020.

 The numbers slightly improved in 2021 with eight convictions, peaking at 11 in 2022, but dropping to just two in 2023. 

This discrepancy between arrests and convictions highlights significant challenges in the legal and judicial processes associated with human trafficking cases.

The rescue operations have been a crucial aspect of NAPTIP’s efforts. In 2019, the agency rescued 471 individuals, comprising 74 males and 397 females.

 The following year saw 301 rescues, including 22 males and 279 females. Over the entire five-year period, 2,074 individuals were freed from traffickers, with a striking gender imbalance: 269 males and 1,805 females.

Among these victims, minors have constituted a significant proportion. In total, 116 minors were rescued, representing 5.59% of the total number of rescued persons. 

The yearly breakdown shows 34 minors rescued in 2019, 17 in 2020, 15 each in 2021 and 2022, and a notable increase to 35 minors in 2023.

NAPTIP’s efforts, though significant, reveal the daunting scale of human trafficking in Lagos.

 The agency has charged several suspects to court each year: one male and one female in 2022, and one male and five females in 2023. 

Over five years, a total of 26 suspects were taken to court, indicating persistent legal hurdles in the fight against trafficking.

The data released by NAPTIP calls for urgent and sustained intervention. Enhanced collaboration between law enforcement agencies, judicial bodies, and civil society organizations is essential to address the root causes of trafficking, improve prosecution rates, and provide comprehensive support for victims.

As Lagos continues to grapple with its trafficking crisis, the focus must remain on bolstering legal frameworks, increasing resources for victim support, and ensuring that traffickers face the full weight of the law. 

The human cost of trafficking is immeasurable, and concerted efforts are needed to combat this grave violation of human rights.

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