The Human Trafficking Menace In Nigeria
Human trafficking news may not always make the headlines like other hot button topics but it happens. It simply does not get the coverage (and attention) it deserves. As the world continues to overlook human trafficking, it thrives. In a CNN expose on the human trafficking rate in Nigeria, around 20,000 Nigerian girls were discovered who had been forced into prostitution in Mali.
Based on a report by Human Rights First, human trafficking earns global profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers. $99 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation. In fact, it is one of the biggest industries in the world.
Human Trafficking Rate In Africa
The numbers published by Human Rights First are indeed dizzying. An estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 16 million (64%) were exploited for labor, 4.8 million (19%) were sexually exploited, and 4.1 million (17%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labor.
The Asia-pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced laborers— 15.4 million (62% of the global total). Africa has 5.7 million (23%) followed by Europe and Central Asia with 2.2 million (9%). America accounts for 1.2 million (5%) and the Arab States account for 1% of all victims. You must have noticed that Africa takes the second spot on the chart behind Asia-pacific. And out of the 5.7 million, you can expect Africa's most populous country to take a large chunk. It is the third most common crime in Nigeria.
Human Trafficking Rate In Nigeria.
Sometimes statistics don't always connect the way person stories do. Tales abound of Nigerian girls who have made the journey and somehow found the courage to share their ordeals. Making the perilous journey from Nigeria through Libya or Niger towards Italy they end up in prison most times. They are bought out by benefactors who impregnate them in order to retain control. Or in most cases, they are forced into prostitution to pay off the debt. Other times their benefactors make them swear that they will pay back when they arrive in Europe. The swearing rites involve plucking bits of fingernails, hairs from their intimate parts and their heads.
How does human trafficking work?
For a great number of people, human trafficking is when victims are lured by the allure of greener pastures and are transported abroad into another country where they are forced into prostitution and labor. But human trafficking also happens with the borders of a country. No border needs to be crossed and no transportation needed.
Are there precautions to keep girls safe from this menace?
Family shortcomings are equally responsible for pushing out children into the streets where they are at their most vulnerable. For instance, these are some reasons girls would leave home.
Often times, when families break it is not without rancor. That bond of unity and care evaporates, leaving a drawn-out feud between the spouses. Children in these situations are left in the middle, unsure of their footings. They become easy pickings for traffickers. They approach under the guise of assisting the children to a better life. Sometimes the traffickers are relatives!
Hardship can make parents place undue responsibility on children, especially their eldest ones. In addition, they are tasked with providing for their younger when they are yet to find their places in the world. This breeds desperation to try to get money at all cost.
The female child is mostly at the receiving end of this. Against their will the family gets them betrothed for selfish reasons. Their only recourse might be to try to leave home and start their own life.
In Warsan Shire's remarkable poem, she says "no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark." The economic situation in Nigeria is quite grueling. The promise of a better future is the allure that leads to trafficking. To combat trafficking, the government and citizens need to work together.