Juju, Nigeria and human trafficking: considerations for victim cooperation in UK criminal investigations

Dunkerley, Anthony (2015) Juju, Nigeria and human trafficking: considerations for victim cooperation in UK criminal investigations. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Human traffickers are known to employ both physical and psychological methods to recruit, transport and maintain control over victims. This study explores a seemingly unique methodology utilised by Nigerian traffickers who transport Nigerian women and children into Europe for sexual exploitation.
    Victims are taken to shrines and swear an oath to repay any debts to the trafficker, not to escape and not to disclose their exploitation to the authorities. If the oath is breached, victims believe that spirits will harm them and their family as punishment. If identified, such is the level of fear that victims are unable to disclose their experiences to criminal investigators.
    The aim of this research was to identify key issues for UK criminal investigators to consider, throughout the criminal justice process, when managing cases involving Nigerian victims trafficked into the UK who have been subjected to juju rituals and undertaken oaths of secrecy.
    The methodology employed was a review of the literature base, followed by obtaining qualitative data through semi-structured interviews with front-line practitioners. Participants consisted of UK police officers (n=2), the National Crime Agency (n=1), Safe House Providers (n=1), Non-Government Organisations (n=1) and Anthropological Expert Witnesses (n=2).
    Results suggest that the oath is one of several mechanisms used by traffickers to instil fear. Others include physical threats to victims and their family, threats of deportation, and perceptions of police corruption. The oath, rape and inflated debt reinforce this sense of fear, psychologically chaining the victim into sexual exploitation.
    The main recommendations for investigators are to make victims feel safe and secure; develop rapport and trust; maintain a joint-agency approach; and provide access to psychological and spiritual counselling.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 11:39
    Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 11:39
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/19850

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