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U.S. Indicts Borno Govt. Over Use Of Child Soldiers

Despite efforts by Nigeria’s central government to combat human trafficking and servitude, the Borno State government in the country’s north east, plagued by Boko Haram insurgency, actively supported the recruitment of child soldiers in the last one year, the United States government has said in its latest report on human trafficking.

The report, released Monday, praised the Nigerian government for its efforts at fighting trafficking and ranked Nigeria in its Tier two category – the same rating the country received in 2014.

The report however criticised the Borno government headed by Governor Kashim Shettima for supporting a group involved with the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.

It noted that although Mr. Kashim had “warned the CJTF that the recruitment and use of child soldiers was prohibited”, “state government support for the group continued”.

Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, is a local vigilante group assisting the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram.

Mr. Shettima was on President Muhammadu Buhari’s entourage to the U.S. last week, and attended talks between President Buhari, U.S. President Barack Obama and secretary of states, John Kerry.

The Department of States, which authored the trafficking report, said while Nigeria remains a main hub for trafficking in persons internally and externally, the government in the last one year continued to take stringent steps to curtail the menace.

“Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Nigerian trafficking victims are recruited from rural and, to a lesser extent, urban areas: women and girls for domestic servitude and sex trafficking and boys for forced labor in street vending, domestic service, mining, stone quarrying, agriculture, textiles manufacturing, and begging,” the report noted.

“Young boys in Koranic schools, commonly known as Almajiri children, are subjected to forced begging. Nigerian women and children are taken from Nigeria to other West and Central African countries, as well as to South Africa, where they are exploited for the same purposes.

Nigerian women and girls are subjected to forced prostitution throughout Europe. Nigerian women and children are also recruited and transported to destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, where they are held captive in the sex trade or in forced labor.”

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