These Girls Are Helping Others In IDP Camps From Falling Prey To Traffickers.
A lot of exploitation happens in IDP camps, especially on girls. Recently, the girls in IDP camps are lured by traffickers with promises of a better life. However, Aminat and Hadizat who fell prey but survived are now raising awareness in camps.
Wherever you are, start from there, Yrsa Daley-Ward once said. It takes one little act of kindness at a time to make the world a better place. That is what the incredibly brave Aisha and Halima are currently doing, despite all they’ve been put through at the age of fifteen. They are raising awareness of girls in IDP camps being lured by traffickers. In addition, they teach they teach others in camp about the traffickers’ mode of operation and how to avoid them.
They were both captured by Boko haram insurgents at that early age, from their compound in the Northeast of Nigeria. They were held in captivity and raped for a year. Somehow they managed to escape their captors and made their way to a camp in Madinatu, Borno state.
With no contact with their families, they had to make do with life in the camp, where they were further subjected to inhumane treatment. There was little food to go around. Local community enforcers and members of the civilian joint task force would offer them food in exchange for sex.
Aisha says, “It was so frustrating having to beg for food and coming into contact with people who only wanted to exploit us. We were ready to do anything to leave Madinatu.”
That desperation would further be exploited by the traffickers they met one morning when they went to fetch some firewood. The traffickers asked if they would be interested in becoming hairdressers in Italy. They happily agreed, believing that fortune is finally smiling upon them.
“They told us we would be well paid, and that we’d be given a place to stay,” says Halima. “We were so happy we were going to leave all our troubles in Madinatu and make money abroad.”
More suffering awaited Aisha and Halima. The women turned out to be traffickers. They were taken to a “common house” in Agadez, where they were told to wait until they could make the journey across the Mediterranean.
Aisha and Halima, abandoned in the desert by their traffickers, were helped back home to Nigeria. It is the story of their return that illuminates the resilience and the selflessness of the human spirit. The situation is bleak for other children at the camp when even those who are there to protect are part of the exploitation.
According to The 2019 US State Department Trafficking in Persons, “sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, of IDPs in camps, settlements, and host communities around Maiduguri remained a pervasive problem”.
They two girls thought that no other child should go through a similar ordeal, and went into advocacy. They became involved with the Caprecon Development and Peace Initiative, educating girls on the traffickers’ method of approach.
“These people are criminals, who have no jobs to offer anybody,” Aisha recently told a group of women at the Madinatu camp. “When you fall into their trap, they sell you into slavery.”
Aisha and Halima are doing their part where they are but their story and, more importantly, their message needs to be amplified by parents. It is common knowledge that traffickers don’t just go to the camp. So educate your children on the traffickers’ mode of operation. Tell them to raise alarm if a stranger approaches them, promising to take them to Italy.
Read also: The Human Trafficking Menace In Nigeria
Source: The Guardian