Call for application: AACTING Project (Act Against Child Trafficking In Nigeria)

Logo EcpatAACTING (Act Against Child Trafficking In NiGeria) is a three year project run by ECPAT France, ECPAT Luxemburg, IFRA Nigeria, Girls Power Initiative and UROMI JDPCI in two Nigerian States. Its’ overarching objective is to contribute to reducing the prevalence of child trafficking, particularly for the purpose of sexual exploitation (CSE) in Edo and Delta States. This is an Action Research Project run by ECPAT France, GPI, JDPCI & IFRA-Nigeria with ECPAT International collaboration,


IFRA-Nigeria is offering:

  • 2 positions for (preferably early carrier) researchers in Social Sciences or Humanities
  • For a duration of 8 months, from February to September, 2024



  • Being a PhD holder or a PhD candidate in their final year
  • Being familiar with issues related to human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Nigeria
  • Being able to conduct ethnographic fieldwork
  • Being able to communicate easily in Pidgin and Bini, Esan, Urhobo or other languages spoken in the concerned regions
  • Having a psychology background would be an added value
  • Having experience of doing research or therapeutic work with children, and in particular, children victims of sexual violence would be an added value

Each researcher will study one of the two research topics addressed by AACTING Project:

  • The impact of digital technology on human trafficking
  • The sexual exploitation of boys



Applications must be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before January 31, 2024



The project and its objectives:

AACTING (Act Against Child Trafficking In NiGeria) is a three year project run by ECPAT France, ECPAT Luxemburg, IFRA Nigeria, Girls Power Initiative and UROMI JDPCI in two Nigerian States. Its’ overarching objective is to contribute to reducing the prevalence of child trafficking, particularly for the purpose of sexual exploitation (CSE) in Edo and Delta States. To achieve this, three specific objectives have been set: 1. Ensuring that by the end of the project, the risks of trafficking are better controlled and the protection systems strengthened with innovative operational mechanisms, adapted to the new manifestations of trafficking and accessible to child victims particularly of CSE 2. Ensuring that girls and boys are fully aware of the risks and actors in the fight against trafficking, particularly for CSE. 3. Ensuring that the fight against trafficking is a priority carried out by a coalition of influential actors. This multi-agency project sets out to achieve 4 specific outcomes to meet these objectives.

The first outcome is to increase / disseminate knowledge of the changing manifestations of the trafficking of girls and boys on/offline & to improve operational tools and mechanisms as well as to adapt associative and institutional responses to it. To achieve this, the partners set out to conduct and disseminate two pieces of research on unexplored facets of trafficking and CSE in Nigeria – one pertaining to the impact of digital technology and another on the sexual exploitation of boys. Webinars and publications will be deployed, as well as targeted feedback and sharing of results to institutional players and other key actors.

The research:

The first step of enhanced knowledge production will consist in the conduct of a literature review and ethnographic research based on original data collected on the field and online, through ethnographic and “netnography” method.

The French Institute for Research in Nigeria (IFRA-Nigeria) in charge of coordinating and supervising the research work, is therefore seeking two researchers in social sciences or humanities (sociology, anthropology, history, political science) who will engage in an 8 months research work, from February-to September, 2024, with the possibility to renew the contract for another 8 months (February-September 2026, depending on the outcomes).

Research topics:

  1. The impact of digital technology on human trafficking


Scoping of the target audience: Nigerian children, victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation (which may include forms of poly-exploitation with sexual exploitation).

Context: The research will take place in Edo and Delta States in Nigeria. It may optionally include a study phase in destination countries (Europe and/or West Africa) with survivors.

Assumptions: the online environment is particularly used in the recruitment of victims (i), digital tools are particularly used to facilitate the organization of exploitation in certain countries (ii), digital tools are used to promote financial transfers of earnings from trafficking (iii), digital tools are underutilized in the fight against trafficking (iv), digital tools could be better used used by those in charge of enforcing the law to support for example prosecution - and prevention.

The online environment relies on various elements that play a role in organizing the trafficking of Nigerian children. Among these elements, social media play a major role in that they are known, on the one hand, to put people who, initially do not know each other, in relation. On the other hand, social media based on imagery also play a role in encouraging or conversely preventing trafficking, in that they convey messages that will affect a large number of users and can be used as a front to lure children and adults into a form of exploitation. Furthermore, it will also be useful in this research to take an interest in the analysis of certain instant messaging services to determine which are used by the perpetrators of trafficking but also by the victims. In both cases, whether social networks or instant messaging services, these tools, which allow remote, exchange are generally used in the sexual exploitation of children to come into contact with victims through fishing and hunting, and to deceive victims by sending them a false identity or a false offer to earn money. The distance between the interlocutors through these tools promotes the victim's trust in the person with whom he is in contact. This distance can also increase the risk that private or even intimate information, or photos, will be shared on a private channel between the interlocutors and then used as a means of pressure to bring the child into an exploitative situation. Furthermore, the major tool to which the online environment refers is the web, which is sometimes used to publish this private information or photos to the general public, thus serving again as a means of pressur

e and leading to increased vulnerability for the child. Finally, digital technology also includes elements for tracing exchanges, publications, web searches, financial flows and analysis of storage media, which are all particularly useful tools for dismantling trafficking networks, identifying victims, collecting digital evidence of acts committed. Thus, since the digital environment refers to various tools, it will first be necessary to select certain social networks, certain messaging services or certain target tools to be analyzed to understand how they are used in the organization of human trafficking. Nigerian children. This will involve focusing on digital uses among young people and children in Nigeria to understand which platforms are most used.

Finally, it would be difficult to attempt to draw up an exhaustive inventory of the interweaving between digital technology and trafficking given that digital technology is now present at all stages of the exploitation process, namely in recruitment, transport, transfer and organization of operations. It will therefore be necessary to endeavour to assess the impact on certain stages of operation. Assessing the influence of digital technology and the recruitment of children into trafficking will be particularly useful for proposing recommendations both in terms of support for child victims and in terms of online prevention for children at risk of trafficking. Action research will thus formulate recommendations in this area, intended for the public sector and the private sector, in particular digital companies that own these platforms. Finally, it would also be useful for this research to identify the main web platforms and social networks used to offer the sexual services of trafficking victims to “clients”.

This research, consistent with the rest of the project, will also seek to assess whether the recruitment dynamics are linked to digital technology and whether the platforms for connecting with perpetrators are different according to the gender of the child victims. It may result from different causes/factors depending on the gender identity and sexual orientation of both the children being trafficked and the offenders


  1. Sexual exploitation of boys

Most of the research and work on trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation has been focusing on girls and women. Although, according to the 2022 UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons only 10% of detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are male, gender-biased victim identification approaches as well as societal/gender norms impacting disclosure and report suggest many cases of trafficking of boys for sexual purposes may be falling through the cracks. Thus, this research will be part of the Global Boys Initiative and will be conducted in conjunction with ECPAT International.

Focus population for the research (sample to be defined at the methodology stage): Sexually exploited boys from Delta and Edo States (including cases of poly-exploitation) in Nigeria and other countries.

Hypothesis: Nigerian boys are victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation (i), tracking and identification tools are not adapted to boys (ii), protection services for boys who are victims of sexual exploitation are insufficient (iii), access to rights for trafficked boys is restricted due to taboos surrounding their exploitation.

This research will seek to assess the profile of sexually exploited boys in order to identify trends in underage boys targeted by traffickers. Among the profile elements that could be retained, we will find the age group, the geographical origin distinguishing urban and rural areas, the socio-economic situation, the level of education, the language spoken, etc.

Since the objective is also to understand how the trafficking of boys is organized, it will be necessary to find out where these children are exploited (the country, the region), how the customers are recruited (street, social networks, dating websites, etc.) and where the exploitation itself takes place (hotels, customers' premises, operators' premises, online etc.), and what are the key challenges for boy survivors to access protection. It will also be useful to determine what recruitment methods are used to then establish tailored prevention messages. For example, it will be important to know if digital sphere is particularly involved in the recruitment of these boys or if other factors come into play such as economic need, the desire to migrate or the use of drugs. Finally, it will also be necessary to take an interest in the stakeholders involved in this exploitation, namely identifying the perpetrators (are they the same organized groups as those identified in the trafficking of Nigerian women and girls, members of the religious community, family circle, etc.), who uses the sexual services of boys who are victims of trafficking and who facilitates this criminal organization (i.e. potentially families, certain companies, smuggling networks, etc.). As boys also seem to be exploited by other forms of trafficking such as forced begging and labor exploitation, it will be interesting to find out what proportion of poly-exploitation involves sexual exploitation.

To conduct this research, it will be relevant and realistic to embark on a collection of qualitative data through interviews, taking into consideration all the ethical constraints that are required. It does indeed seem unlikely, given the current state of knowledge on this subject, to consider collecting quantitative data that would allow a relevant analysis concerning this target audience. These interviews will be conducted in compliance with ECPAT France's child protection and sexual abuse policies, in accordance with interview methods that respect the experience of boys and are sensitive to the risks of re-traumatization and victimization, developed by ECPAT International, and in accordance with the recommendations made by UNICEF in its report on the sexual exploitation of boys.

The research will also aim to identify the existing and potential protective mechanisms adapted to boys who are victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. For this, a legislative analysis to understand if and how boys are integrated into the Nigerian legislation on the protection of victims of trafficking will be necessary, as well as, in a second step, the analysis of the sections of public policies on trafficking to identify if the boys can be included in these policies. Finally, the research will aim to identify the places of reception and support for boys who are victims of sexual exploitation and to draw out the best practices and limits, with the aim of formulating recommendations in terms of care for boys trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Geographical coverage:

Edo state:

  • Edo Central: Esan West, Esan Central, Esan North East, Esan South East and Igueben
  • Edo South: Egor, Etsako East, Akoko Edo
  • Edo North: Owan West, Owan East, Etsako West, Etsako Central

Delta state:

  • Delta Central : Ughelli North
  • Delta Nord : Oshilili North, Oshilili South, Ika South


Work schedule (2024)

Literature review and desk research: February – March 2024

Fieldwork: April – August 2024

Issue of mid-term reports: June 15th, 2024

Issue of deliverables: September 30th, 2024

Depending on the results, the contract might be renewed in 2025, based on the same schedules

In order to apply, please send the following documents by email, to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., while coping This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., before January 31, 2024

  • a CV, indicating your current affiliation, your research interests, your education, your academic and professional experiences, your participations in research programs or scientific events and your publications
  • a 3 pages (max) statement in which you will explain which research topic you will study and how you intend to conduct the research. Be as precise as possible about the different qualitative research methodologies you will use. These methods have to fit in an ethnographic fieldwork approach. Combination of qualitative and quantitative is a possible option.

Indicate, in the object of the email, your name and the research topic you intend to study. Ex:

  • Object: James Johnson, The impact of digital technology on human trafficking

Find us

Institute of African Studies
University of Ibadan
Ibadan, Oyo State

Locate us

View Larger Map

IFRA Resource Centre

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday