A group of gay Nigerians has set up a blog to expose criminals who prey on gay men on dating sites by blackmailing them over their sexual orientation.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Nigerians are particularly vulnerable to being extorted because they face significant social stigma and criminal prosecution if they are outed.
The new blog, lagosheat.wordpress.com, is regularly updated with pictures and information about alleged blackmailers and details of scams in a bid to protect potential victims in the gay community.
“We are volunteers who take the time to inform the public about scams operated through gay dating sites, chat services, and personal introductions,” reads the description on the blog.
“Please help us by sending your account of scams you may have encountered via our email. We need as much detail as possible so that we can verify the information. Your privacy will be respected.”
In February, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission published a report highlighting the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Africa who are often blackmailed and extorted because of their sexuality.
The report, Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa, illustrated how LGBT Africans are made doubly vulnerable by the criminalisation of homosexuality and the often-violent stigmatisation they face if their sexuality is revealed.
Homosexuality is outlawed in at least 38 out of the 54 counties in Africa, with Mauritania, Sudan, and northern Nigeria allowing for execution as punishment.