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Ndokwa Vanguard

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Human Trafficking in Nigeria;Causes, Effects And Way Forward. By Osuluku Oyin Divine

Jul 4, 2023

Human trafficking also known as trafficking in persons is a form of modern day slavery in which people are recruited, bought,and transported to serve exploitative purpose. The victims of this act are usually women and children. The highest human trafficking states in Nigeria is Plateua,Benue and Nasarawa. Human trafficking in children has been going on since the 60s,the public recognition and focus on the issue however increased only since mid90s.

Nigeria is ranked 38/160 of the countries with the highest number of slaves.It Is the third most common crime in Nigeria after your trafficking and economic fraud(UNESCO 2006).

It is assumed to be a $150 billion global industry (Anti-trafficking alliance 2017). According to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matter (NAPTIP) statistics for 2019-22,61% of human trafficking in Nigeria happens internally, while 39 is generated from cross-border trafficking.

Many years of military rule has led to institutionalized human rights violation and a serious political, social and economic crisis. This had an unpleasing impact on the development of community participation, especially of women and children despite the efforts of international and national institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) created to advance their cause. Also the boom in 1970 created opportunities for migration both inside and outside of the country (UNESCO 2006) this gave room for the exploitation for international trafficking in women and children. The manner of human trafficking in Nigeria are geographical in nature and include internal trafficking and cross-border trafficking.

INTERNAL Trafficking: This refers to a domestic trafficking. It involves the recruitment and transportation of persons within the borders of a country. Internal trafficking of children and women has increased in the last two decades. An increased number of people are trafficked form rural communities in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa,and states in the south-south, Niger and Kwara in the middle belt to cities such as Kano,Calabar, Sapele,Lagos. People trafficked to this areas are used for exploitative domestic work, prostitution, forced labour,etc. Lagos has the highest number of human trafficking and forced labour.

CROSS-BORDER TRAFFICKING: It is the movement of people across national, continental and international borders for the purpose of achieving selfish interest. Victims are transported through trans-national border. Nigeria is known as a source, passage and destination country. Those trafficked to destinations outside Africa find themselves in country such as Italy, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom. The trend is that Nigerian women who are trafficked to the United Kingdom are used as domestic servants. In fact the Daily telegraph (2009) reported that an increasing in number of young girls claiming asylum as UK trafficked.
Traffickers is a main agents of human trafficking. The trafficker is the bridge between supply and demand of victims . He or she canvases for and increasing supply through the enlistment, deception, transportation and exploitation process. The trafficker in most cases is an extended family relation or someone who is Known in the local community or a friend of the victim.
No matter the scale and means of operation the process is systematically, accurately,well organized where the sole aim is profit making from the exploitation of trafficked persons. Nigerian traffickers abroad has established an organization of control in most destination countries (UNESCO 2006 ) they are well connected and operate in the cartels and networks which is difficult to infiltrate. They make use of coded language to communicate among themselves and are ruthless enough to kill .

Many victims of human trafficking are ignorant of the fate that awaits them in their destination. This situation is such that many women and girls had little or no education hence, they are easily carried away by the picture of greener pastures painted to them by the traffickers.
Poverty is one of the main causes of human trafficking. Muhammad (2004) citing world bank (1995 )reported that over 45% of the country population lives below the poverty line, the situation has become worse in the 21st century which makes most family members exposed to human trafficking.
It is important to note that the wide spread practice of entrusting children to more affluent friends or relatives create not only vulnerability in Nigeria but one of the causes of human trafficking.

The practice consists in “giving” children away often in exchange of money, or with the motivation to give more opportunities to the children to escape for the situation of severe poverty and access a better life. When misused this customs can be significant benefits for traffickers (Osuman &Enbunane 2012,Osuigue 2011)
Also greed is one of the causes of human trafficking. People who are not contended with what they have or those who want to accumulate fast wealth may find themselves engaged in human trafficking. Greed is sometimes what fuels trafficker.

Human trafficking remains a great menace to our economic development, advancement and human capital. It saps the very potential of our nation by frustrating their aspiration of our young adults. The dreams and future of so many young people particularly women and children are frustrated and crushed and their potential dispirited because of the triumph of human trafficking which often grows in the shadow and silence of many on strives due to passive participation of the arms of government.

I know that to graph a way forward it is important that the NAPTIP regain it collaborative mandate with international communities and internal communities . Quick response should be a priority. A holistic approach between agencies, countries and region is very important .
Nigerian government should at the national level be charged with coordination of matters relating to human trafficking. National institutions should be encouraged so as to support and anti-trafficking work by local front Line agencies but also innovative work by grassroots, and provision of job opportunities for youth and empowerment programs for the youths.
Governments and NGOs should organize campaigns to teach the people of the dangers of human trafficking its cause, effects and how to avoid being deceived by human traffickers.
Government should put in place strict punishments for any one found guilty of human trafficking.

If all this measures are put in place then  there could be a way forward in the country’s fight against human trafficking. 


Osuluku Oyin Divine . A student of DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY .

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