Human trafficking which entails the trafficking of people especially young and able bodied people for forced labour and prostitution has become a recurrent problem in Nigeria. Despite concerted efforts made by government to eradicate the menace, human trafficking in Nigeria has remained insoluble. The research therefore, seeks to appraise the role of National Agency for the Prohibition of traffic in persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) at curbing human trafficking. This is because NAPTIP is a governmental Agency empowered by law to investigate and prosecute persons involved in human trafficking. The research was carried out within the ambit of structural functional theory. Also the research adopted the primary and secondary method of data collection. Efforts were also made to discuss the historical background of human trafficking and establish a link between the Atlantic slave trade and modern day human trafficking. Also the dynamics of human trafficking i.e. internal and external trafficking was discussed. Efforts were also made to discuss some steps taken by government and international organizations at curbing human trafficking. Furthermore, the research discovered that poverty; effects of globalization, religious manipulation among others are the determinant factors of human trafficking. The research concluded by recommending that human trafficking can only be eradicated through poverty alleviation with much focus on the down trodden rather than focusing on prohibition and prosecution alone. The research has recommended other solutions to human trafficking such as adequate funding of NAPTIP, implementation of child right act, mass enlightenment etc.




Human trafficking as an endemic social problem pervasive and heinous crime is one of the most pressing human rights problems in Nigeria. The gravity of the problem of trafficking in persons has defied several efforts by the government and non-governmental organizations. It has proved to be a relatively lucrative profession for those who engage in this act. According to Osakwe (1996) human trafficking entails the trafficking of persons usually children and young girls for prostitution and cheap labour, within Nigeria and from Nigeria to other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americans, and has also aggravated the HIV-AIDS scourge in Nigeria.

Inevitably, therefore, the federal government was compelled to establish a more robust present and effective agency to tackle and curtail the problem of human trafficking in Nigeria. This led to the formation of the National Agency for the prohibition of traffic in persons and other related matters (NAPTIP).

Despite all   these   measures   however,   human   trafficking across Nigerian borders has persisted with an un-diminishing intensity. Similarly, despite all the humiliation, torture and deportation of several

young Nigerian women from various European and other foreign countries, many more young women in Nigeria are committed and determined to find their ways to foreign nations and engage in prostitution and other humiliating or degrading professions (Akinimisi, 2002:3).

This study therefore, sets out to examine the role of NAPTIP in the Control of human trafficking in Nigeria.


Human trafficking has remained a recurrent socio-economic problem affecting Nigeria. Despite diverse efforts by government and non- governmental organizations such as NAPTIP, WOTCEF, Idia renaissance etc, at curbing this menace, human trafficking remains Ubiquitous. This trend of human trafficking in Nigeria has provoked heavy attention of scholars, especially on the inability of these organizations to combat human trafficking.

This research shall however, focus on the national agency for prohibition of traffic in persons and other related matters (NAPTIP). NAPTIP was chosen as an area of focus, due to the fact that it was an agency setup as an act of parliament to address the scourge of human trafficking in Nigeria. Also, the agency was a response by the federal Government to the international obligation under the trafficking in person’s

protocol supplementing the United Nations transnational organized crime convention (TOC). Therefore, the central task of this research is to examine the extent to which NAPTIP has perform its role as an agency for curbing human trafficking in Nigeria.


The objectives of this study are as follows:

1. Appraise the role of NAPTIP in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria.

2. Shed light on the determinant factors and effects of human trafficking in Nigeria.

3. Recommend effective strategies for combating human trafficking in Nigeria.

4. To critically examine historically efforts by non-governmental organizations at combating human trafficking in Nigeria.


The assumptions underlining this research are;

1. Human trafficking has intensified in spite of the activities of NAPTIP

2. The collapse of certain structures, has led to wide spread poverty and economic desperation amongst Nigerians, which in turn sustains human trafficking

3. Victims are largely ignorant of the true objectives of human traffickers.

4. There are other environmental factors such as religious belief, culture, porous borders, weak legal framework etc, that maybe militating against the effectiveness of NAPTIP.


The methodology used for this study is a combination of both primary and secondary sources of data.

Primary source includes the use of structured interview which will be Classified into two groups of trafficked victims and traffickers. This interview took place in NAPTIP Kano Zonal office out of a total of 748 trafficked victims and 222 suspects. A total of eighty people were interviewed, fifty-eight of the respondents are the trafficked victims while twenty-two of the respondents are traffickers.

For the purpose of easy interview, the questions are written in English language and are numbered from 1-14. Furthermore, the structured interviews are broadly divided into two parts, part one deals with the socio-graphic characteristic of respondents while the other part seeks information concerning the respondent's perception of the subject matter. This is to facilitate analysis and for easy control of variables.

The sampling method used for this research is stratified random sampling. The stratified sampling method allows the splitting of the population into parts e.g. the traffickers and the trafficked. This was then followed by a random selection of the samples from each stratum.

Method of Data Presentation and Analysis

The questions are numbered 1 - 14; the research will also include data collected from NAPTIP, while the data collected from the field are analyzed contextually in order to find answers to various research questions and propositions, which are here subjected to test. The findings shall also be presented in accordance with the research questions asked and the assumptions.


This study dwells on the role of NAPTIP in the control of human trafficking in Nigeria with a focus on periods between 2004 - 2009. The period 2004 – 2009 was chosen as a focus because this period witnessed the pick of human trafficking in Nigeria

The research was limited in the following aspects:

The interview stage of the persons involved in human trafficking conducted in Kano was difficult as some refused to respond to some

questions adequately, especially concerning their names and identity.


The study is geared towards producing an empirical, critical but objective work on the problem of human trafficking in Nigeria and the effort being made by the government through NAPTIP to prevent, manage and eradicate human trafficking in Nigeria. It is expected therefore, that this research would be of benefit to the generality of the public.


To allow a clear analysis of this research, the structural functional theory propounded by Gabriel Almond, formed the basis upon which the structure and findings of this research is built. This will help in understanding the workings of structures in the society. It will also shed more light on the function of certain structures in the society and how they affect the socio-economic conditions of the people.

Structural Functional Theory

Structural functionalism is an approach to political analysis that focuses on the functions performed within a political system and on

structures through which they are performed. Structural – functionalism provides a framework for analyzing whole systems. It stresses the interrelatedness of structures and functions that must be performed if the system is to persist or be adequately maintained.

According to Gabriel Almond (1969:15), one of the chief proponents of the theory in political science, every political system performs certain functions. Functions in this context, means some purpose served with respect to the maintenance or perpetuation of the system. Taking Easton’s system analysis as a starting point, Almond identified the input and output function of all political systems as follows:

1. Interest articulation, this means expressing and making demands upon the political system which is usually done by parties and pressure groups

2. Interest aggregations; this focuses on selecting demands and combining them into a manageable number of alternatives.   While on the output side are the following functions

3. Rule making: This means taking demands and converting them into the authoritative decisions of the political system e.g. the legislative

4. Rule application; this is the administering or putting the decisions into effect i.e policy implementation carried out by the executive.

5. Rule adjudication, this involves making authoritative decisions about whether or not a rule has been transgressed in given cases e.g. the judiciary. The function of

6. Political communication; transmitting politically – relevant information to the citizens within the political system and outside of these diverse activities.

7. Political recruitment and socialization; this means getting people to fill all the political system from voters to leaders; forming positive attitudes, values, beliefs and opinions which maintains or sustains the political systems (Almond, 1969:15).

Almond and Powell (1966) have also classified functions into three types: Capability functions, conversion functions and communication functions. The capability function include those with extractive capability (to extract taxes and obedience from people), regulative capability (how far the system is allowed to go to enforce law and order), distributive capability (how goods and services are distributed), symbolic capability (whether the political system is in a position to get love for its symbols such as national flag, or the national anthem, etc), and responsive capability (how responsive the system is as perceived by citizens. The capability functions play a role in how a political system conducts

transactions between its domestic and foreign environment. The conversion functions are the same as interest articulation and interest aggregation, and are simply called conversion functions because they convert inputs from the environments to outputs in the environments. The communication functions are also the same as socialization and recruitment and communication, but they are also sometimes referred to as developmental processes. Therefore, it is the comprehensive workability of these capabilities that makes up a political system.

Almond then proceeds to define a political system as that system of interaction to be found in all independent societies which performs the functions of integration and adaptation (both internally and vis-à-vis other societies) by means of the employment, or threat of employment of more or less legitimate physical compulsion. By the way of explaining his definition of the political system, Almond says that he uses the expression “more or less to qualify the state legitimacy in a particular study in totalitarian systems legitimacy may be very much in doubt, in revolutionary systems it may be in progress of change, and in non-western systems, there may be more than one legitimate system in operation. His justification for the use of the term physical compulsion is that; this helps him in distinguishing political systems from other systems. This is to show that politics is not to be treated as mere force, it is the legitimacy of the

physical compulsion used which governs the inputs and outputs of the political system and gives it its special quality and importance as well as its coherence as a system. Three things clearly emerge from Almond’s definition of political system:

1. That a political system is a concrete whole influencing, and in turn influenced by, the environments, the presence of legitimacy force holding it together,

2. Interactions take place not between individuals but between roles adopted by them, and

3. The political system is an open system engaged in a continuous communication with entities and systems beyond its own boundaries Almond also defines political as, separating out a certain set of

interactions in a society in order to relate it with other sets. A system according to him is characterized by:

1. Comprehensiveness

2. Inter-dependence and

3. Existence of boundaries.

A system is comprehensive in the sense that it includes all the interactions – inputs as well as outputs, which affect the use of physical coercion, all the structures, including undifferentiated structures, like kinship and lineage, and anomic phenomena, like riots and secrets

demonstrations, and not merely the interactions which take place within the structures associated with the state, like parliament, executives and bureaucracies, and formally organized units like parties, interest groups and media of communication. Interdependence means that the various sub-sets of the system are so closely connected with each other sub-sets. Almond defines boundary as points where other systems end and the political system begins. He also explains the line of demarcation between the political system and other systems. In addition to these three characteristics of the systems as enumerated by Almond, is the tendency towards equilibrium. Equilibrium, in a general sense means that no variable should change its position or relation with respect to the other variable, which would imply that the variables have adjusted themselves with each other and reached a steady or homeostatic state, enjoying a condition of harmony stability or balance. (Almond, 1956:54).

At this juncture, it is pertinent to state that for the purpose of this research attention shall be accorded to the functions performed by the structures that make up the political system. That is to say that we are more interested in the process than the institutions, and would, therefore, like to approach an understanding of the structures within the political system through their functions. In fact, it is on the basis of the efficiency with which a political system performs the functions assigned to it as a

political system that its stature in the scale of political development is determined. Hence, the functions of the political system shall be discussed in details.

Almond’s Seven Political functions in Detail; political recruitment socialization

According to Almond, is the process of induction into the political culture, and leads to the development of a set of attitudes among the members of the system. In other words in every society, new members must be inducted into the political culture to sustain the set of attitudes necessary for the system to survive. Socialization into this culture may be manifest or latent. It is manifest if it is directly connected with politics and if latent, then some non political attitudes will be cultivated or indirectly concerned with politics. Recruitment is more direct, involving the hiring and training of individuals for specific roles. Every political system, whether western or non-western, has to perform the function of political recruitment and socialization. Once the process of political socialization and recruitment are complete, structure representing interest articulation and interest aggregation begin to be organized.   Almond also included what he calls psychological dimensions of political system, namely political culture which includes values.

Interest Articulation:

Demands for political action need to be formulated and expressed property, and it normally occurs at the boundaries of various subsystems. The structures which help perform this function also make up environmental boundaries for the system as a whole, separating the polity from society. In Almond’s (2006) classification, there are four main types of interest articulation structures. Institutional interest groups, non- associational interest groups, anomic interest groups, and association groups. The institutional interest groups include legislatures, political executives, bureaucrats, armies and churches e.t.c.. Non associational interest groups are kinship and lineage groups, ethnic, regional, religious, status and class groups. Anomic interest groups are sporadic and explosive too, since they only want to press their demands through riots or demonstrations. Associational groups consist of specialized structures like trade unions, business and professional associations, civic associations, and educational associations. If groups do not find open channels to express their interest and needs, their demands will go unsatisfied and they may erupt in violence, requiring suppression by the elite(Almond and Powel1969:15).

Interest Aggregation:

Somehow, demands must be converted into policy alternatives, and political parties are the main instrument for this, but in some instances, the aggregation function may be performed by the legislature, the bureaucracy, the mass media, and interest groups of a civic type. The bureaucracy example often consists of persons with experience at working out whatever regulatory codes are needed to elaborate upon some general policy, within limits of how much interpretation the bureaucracy is given.(Almond and powel1969:15).

Rule Making:

Sometimes in some countries it’s not called legislation, so the word ‘rule making’ is preferably used. However, rules must be made in a certain way and by specific institutions with certain kinds of limitations. What is important is the way people interact to make the rules.(Almond and Powel 1969:16).

Rule Application:

Rules are made to be enforced, and it is up to the bureaucracy to do this. A bureaucracy is at the core of modern government. However, there also needs to be some central decision-making, authority to offset the

inevitable trends towards inertia and decentralization. The presence of differentiated and well-developed rule application structures greatly expand the capability of a political system to manipulate its environment.

Rule Adjudication:

It is the duty of the judiciary to interpret the laws and determine guilt or innocence. An independent judiciary also works best for resolving conflicts which break out between citizens. An ideal judiciary operates on a certain set of settled rules which have been applied to past conflicts in society.

Political Communication:

Political communication, compared by Almond to the circulation of blood, has been described by him as the medium through which other functions in the political system are performed. He stated that the blood is the neutral medium carrying claims, protests and demands through veins to the heart, and from the heart through the arteries flow the output is of rules, regulations and adjudications in response to the claims and demand (Almond; 1956). Communication facilities similarly are of the highest importance in determining the character of a political system. They determine the flow of information between the society and the political

system. Communication system also may differ both in structure and style from each other in the various stages of political development.

It is also noteworthy to state that for Almond and other system theorist, a political system is an open system that is being constantly influenced by its environments – social, cultural and economic under which it is working. Also that the challenges to the capabilities of political system could come from within the political system itself from the elites (2) from the environment – from social groups or (3) from other political system.(Almond and Powel 1969:16).

Almond’s formulations have been faulted on three grounds. First, it has been noted that it is not easy to distinguish between the deliberate aims of he participants and what takes place because the system seemed to achieve certain aims.   Second, the identification of functions is alleged to rest on the interpretation the analyst places on observed development. Thus there cannot be complete objectivity. In effect, the number of the identified functions can be more or less than the seven listed by Almond. Third, the approach has been seen as culture–bound since the functions attributed to the political system are too closely modeled on Western political systems.(Enemuo,1999:23). However, despite these criticisms, political science has adopted some of the central concepts of the theory. The concept is applied to any set of behaviour patterns which are inter-

connected with each other. The theory is also used by policy makers to determine the extent to which structure functions and the environmental factors which influence and challenge the structure from performing. It can further be applied to the process of social action which influence political culture through political, socialization to the understanding of the environment, in which political and economic development takes place within the framework of the system.

Therefore, the relevance of the structural functional theory is very useful in this research. For NAPTIP is an agency set up to correct some abnormalities in the system as a result of the collapse of certain structures in Nigeria. It is also pertinent to state that NAPTIP operates in an environment, whose influence affects the activities of the agency.   Also, the activities of NAPTIP shall be examined within this ambit to determine the extent at which the agency is capable of curbing human trafficking in Nigeria.


Human trafficking for the purpose of this work the United Nations protocol normative definition of the term Trafficking (otherwise called the Palermo protocol) shall be adopted. It defines Trafficking in persons as the

Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others, or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs" (UNICEF, 2002).

Poverty: In economic terms, poverty can be defined as the situation of low income or consumption. Therefore, in order to facilitate cross-country consumption comparison and aggregate, various types of poverty have been recognized namely; absolute, relative, subjective, rural and urban poverty. Thus, this concept of poverty forms the basis of measurement.

Absolute poverty refers to the lack of minimum physical requirements of the person or a household for existence, and is so extreme that those affected are no longer in a position to live a life worthy of human dignity. Absolute poverty exists when the lives of those concerned are impaired by physical or socio-cultural deficiencies. (Adewoye, 1996:4).

Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. Relative poverty does not necessarily mean that the persons concerned cannot live a life that is worthy of human dignity. It merely, states that, because of the distribution structures in a society, certain economic subjects are disadvantaged to an unacceptable extent.

Subjective poverty refers to whether or not individuals or group feel they are poor. Subjective poverty is closely related to relative poverty since those who are defined as poor in terms of standards of the day will probably see and feel themselves to be poor.

Urban poverty refers to the urban slums, ghettos which are usually characterized by environmental degradation, inadequate welfare services, overcrowded accommodation, and low level of education and capital resources. Rural poverty on the other hand is characterized by poor material condition, high rate of illiteracy, lack of infrastructures, unemployment etc (Abdullahi, 1993).

Prostitution: Prostitution refers to sexual services. The services may consist of any sexual act including those which do not involve computation, while payment may be any non-sexual consideration. In most community it is in the form of money.


Almond (1969 :7) defines structure as particular set of roles. It is a pattern of related roles or established relationships among people. Structures are the relatively stable uniform, or patterned elements in a situation. Just as social structures (e.g government, the family e.t.c) contribute to the smooth functioning of society, individuals must fill a set of positions (status – roles) to make social institutions and society function smoothly. In the structural - functional analysis are the results or consequences, of actions.

Political system:

Political system is the system of interaction found in all independent societies which performs the functions of integration an adaptation (both internally and viz-a-viz other societies) by means of the employment or threat of employment, of more or less legitimate force (Almond 1996:8) Political system can also be defined as the system of interactions in any society through which binding decisions are made and implemented (Easton 1953:25)

Structural Strain: Disturbances caused by rapid social change, which often causes social problems (reform) in order to keep society running. Disorder occurs because of conflicts between the parts that make up society and therefore balance and peace must be restored.

Dysfunction: Dysfunction often caused by structural strain, structural functionalists try to point out that sometimes social systems don’t operate ideally, and would identify the dysfunctions of a given system (social instruction, organization, etc) as a way of improving its smooth functioning.

Chapter Organization

This work is divided into five chapters, the first chapter deals with the introduction, the second chapter deals with the literature review. The third chapter focuses on the historical background of human trafficking in Nigeria, determinants and various efforts made by government and non- governmental organizations at curbing it.   The fourth chapter examines the role of National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in person and other related matters (NAPTIP) in the prevention and management of human trafficking in Nigeria. The fifth chapter comprises the summary, conclusion and recommendations.



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