|An Extortionist Exposed |
Extortion and blackmail continue to be weapons used against LGBT communities. Such criminal acts are seen as an occupational hazard by gay men in cities such as Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.The full article at ILGA shares the experience LGBTI persons with blackmail and extortion.
Now a task force of concerned individuals has set up a new organisation to expose blackmailers and extortionists. They have established a blog www.lagosheat.wordpress.com, which exposes the criminals and their strategies.
The blog is regularly updated and provides safer dating tips for visiting gay people.
The modus operandi of blackmailers and extortionists in Nigeria is generally consistent and often related to online dating. Perpetrators will often steal possessions such as laptops and mobile phones from victims and often get in touch later, promising to return the items in the exchange for money. Sometimes however they take the items and disappear.
The perpetrators rely on fear amongst the victims. Victims of such crimes fear reporting the case to the police as they cannot be sure if it might backfire and that they will end up being arrested for having engaged in homosexual acts.LGBT rights activists have recently argued that blackmail and extortion are exacerbated by the criminalization of same-sex relationships. The vice is most common in countries, where homosexuality is illegal.
Cary Alen Johnson, IGLHRC's Executive Director, writes that "the tragic reality is that blackmail and extortion are part of the daily lives of many LGBT Africans who are isolated and made vulnerable by homophobic laws and social stigma...The responsibility clearly lies with governments to address these crimes and the underlying social and legal vulnerability of LGBT people."