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TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND GIRLS IN AFRICA

  • Author : John Chika Ejinaka
  • 2020-08-06

 

TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND GIRLS IN AFRICA

John Chika Ejinaka

 

Human trafficking has remained a component part of the evolution of human history. It was one of the tragic events of the infamous transatlantic slave trade that decimated Africa from the middle of the 15th Century, up to 1807 when it was finally abolished in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately while the European abolitionist concentrated much effort to eliminate slave trade from the coast of Africa, and the Americas, similar strident measures were not deployed in the colonies of Africa towards the eradication of human trafficking, in particular trafficking in women and children. While the British abolished the slave trade along the coast of East Africa in 1873, it took several decades before trafficking in large number of persons began to slow down. Trafficking at the time took the form of raids, wars, abduction and other forms of coercion and sudden disappearances, forcefully relocating the abducted persons to location where they are total strangers.  Although contemporary trafficking in persons had taken a new posture, it still retained some of the initial characteristics of coercion, deceptions, and false promises. Today, trafficking in persons remain the second most lucrative form of transnational organised crime, exceeded only by drugs and arms trafficking.  According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 2017 report, human traffickers were making as much as US$150 billion annually.[i]

The present focus on human trafficking started in 2000 when world attention was drawn not only to the benefits of international migration to economic development for both sending and receiving states, but also the apparent danger of irregular migration, especially the risks undertaken by migrants in their quest to reach the coast of Europe.  There was therefore an attempt for a holistic attention on the various aspects of international migration including the challenge of human trafficking and migrants smuggling, and the indignities confronting trafficked persons. It became imperative to consider human trafficking as a crime against humanity and the need for collective effort to address it in all ramifications.[ii]There is no doubt that the spike in human trafficking was reinforced by the huge financial benefits, accruing to the traffickers whose trafficking business thrive with minimum risk. Like all transnational organised crime, the business is sustained by a network of organized crime syndicates that control the business from the countries of origin, transit, and destination.[iii] The endemic poverty in many countries of Africa, the lack of opportunities for education, and the growing incidence of youth unemployment, have left many of the youths vulnerable to the disingenuous tactics of the traffickers, who employ lies, and deceit, to lure their victims into their trafficking ring.  Furthermore, trafficking in Africa was equally exacerbated by the global economic difficulties of the 1980s resulting in gross economic stagnation in many African countries. It was, therefore, little wonder that the crushing economic difficulties compelled the youths to sick for alternative sources of employment, which left many vulnerable to crime agents and trafficking syndicates. These predators deploy different forms of deceit to lure their victims into their illicit trade including false promises of providing them good paying jobs abroad.  There is also the deliberate push by family members who encourage their daughters to enter into prostitution as a means of bringing family out of poverty.[iv] It is also seen as a source of wealth, orchestrated by the perceived wealth, displayed by former victims who having survived the rigours and harsh experiences of forced prostitution, turned to prostitution as a profession and now send money to the family at home. The major destination countries for victims of trafficking are preferably countries of Europe, namely; Italy, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and also Saudi Arabia and the United Arabs Emirates.[v]

ROOT CAUSES OF TRAFFICKING

A number of factors could be sighted as responsible for the growing incidence of trafficking in Africa. They include wide spread poverty, worsening living standard, youth unemployment, lack of access to education and poor state of most of Africa’s` economy (ILO 2003). A combination of these factors made it imperative for the most vulnerable youths, including women and girls to become easy prey to groups of organised crime syndicates who lure them into prostitution abroad while pretending to help them find lucrative employment. There is also some act of desperation among family members who encourage their daughters to engage in prostitution abroad as a means of helping family out of poverty.

TRAFFICKING RINGS  

Trafficking in Africa is masterminded by a ring of organised crime syndicates with strong local and international affiliation. The Institute of Security Studies (ISS), in 1991 noted that the range of organized criminal activities in South Africa is vast, showing that there are as many as 500 organised criminal groups in South Africa, many of them with both African and global networks, which facilitate cross border flow of illegal goods and people (Gastrow 1999). The most notorious among them include the Chinese Triad societies, the Russian and the Bulgarian Mafia known to control global trafficking empires. In West Africa, there are the Nigerian networks that are masterminds of major trafficking ring in West Africa with a network of collaborators in some major cities of Europe. In 1996, Jeune Afrique reported that 6,000 young African girls were trafficked to Europe each year and that many of them ended up as sex slaves in French ports (Berlay, 1969:32). In 1990, Anti Slavery International (ASI) confirmed that children from Mozambique were being trafficked into South Africa where they were sold as “Sex Chattels (Vines 1991) South Africa remains a fertile ground for traffickers who easily capitalize on the vulnerabilities created by war, endemic poverty, minimal education, unemployment and a general lack of opportunity for much of the region’s population.

THE TRAFFICKING OF AFRICANS BY AFRICANS

It is deplorable to note that Africans remain the mastermind of the current trend of human trafficking in Africa. In West Africa, the Nigerian trafficking cartel remains the propelling force behind the sustenance of trafficking in women and girls from Nigeria to other staging posts up to the various destinations in Africa and Europe.   The Nigerian members of the cartel have developed a very intriguing method of ensuring that their victims are attached to their apron string from the victim’s village in Nigeria to the destination country both in Africa and Europe. The victims are mainly poor and unemployed vulnerable women and girls, who are desperately in search of any form of employment that will assure them of a secured future.[vi]Being that gullible, they are easily deceived by fake promises of employment, especially in Europe and the rich Gulf states in the Middle East. The traffickers in their nefarious trade and quick determination to exploit the vulnerability and the naivety of the victims compel them to sign certain undertakings that left them bonded to the trafficker for a long time, working for the latter and becoming endlessly dependent on the trafficker until they pay off  the bond and earn their freedom.  In most cases, the girls are compelled to swear to an oath, in the presence of a fetish doctor who mesmerizes the victims towards committing to adhere to the terms of agreement or become victim to the shrine or deity invoked in the agreement.  For the trafficker, this oath is necessary especially where he is the one providing the travel documents and in some cases the transportation of the victim. 

Unfortunately the victim while entering into those binding contract remain convinced that she was going to be gainfully employed in the destination country as she has been promised. Furthermore, family members are compelled to sell some family valuables including borrowing to facilitate the travel under the conviction that once in the destination country, she would remit money home for the settlement of the borrowed money. The victim only gets astounded to discover on arrival at the destination that she had been sold into prostitution and had to work for the trafficking cartel to redeem whatever amount the latter claimed to be the cost of the facilitation of her travel and what additional fee she had to pay before regaining her freedom. As long as she remain under the spell of the fetish bondage, she would be compelled to remain royal to the agreement while slaving herself to be able to pay off her indebtedness.

THE ROLE OF WOMEN AS MAJOR TRAFFICKERS

One remarkable development is the growing membership of women into the trafficking cartel. These were women who were once victims of trafficking but who having regained their freedom, transformed themselves into masters of the game. Instead of working against the heinous trade, decide to deploy their experience as part of the net work of trafficking or establish their own network. These women referred to as “Madams” with their knowledge and understanding of the tricks based on their own experiences consider the business of sex trafficking as lucrative and therefore an enterprise to be sustained. Some of them become eventual recruiters for the network they work for; going into the interiors to fish out would be victims. It is instructive to note that the so called success story of these victims now “Madams” have become a reference point for neighbours while encouraging their daughters to embark on similar expedition. These neighbours see prostitution as a lucrative business, especially when the neighbour`s daughter having transformed into a “Madam “start sending money to her parents or family members regularly, including sponsoring the building of family house. The neighbours consequently compel their daughters to learn from the success of the “Madam”. In the circumstance such girls knew before departure that they were going to Europe for prostitution and should therefore be prepared to withstand the humiliation and impending abuse of their fundamental human rights on their way to eventually becoming a “Madam”. For families that force their daughters into prostitution the motivation may not be primarily poverty or deprivation but the wanton quest for wealth. Any attempt by such daughter to withstand such pressure from the parents would be seen in bad light and could subject her to a number of contemptible treatments, until she is compelled against her wish to accept to be trafficked. The parents willingly enter into agreement with the traffickers or scout who often is somebody that understands the community very well.[vii]

In Nigeria, majority of the trafficked women and girls are from Edo State.[viii]However, girls from other states such as Delta state and some South East States have joined in what to them is the lucrative job of prostitution abroad. To girls from these states the motivation is the search for greener pastures abroad. According to the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) about 20,000 Nigerian girls have been forced into prostitution in Mali. Many of the girls are working in hotels and nightclubs after being sold into prostitution rings by human traffickers. According to the Agency, discussion with some of the girls showed that they were lured by traffickers who promised to help find jobs for them in Malaysia. Some of the girls were sold as sex slaves in gold mine camps in the Northern part of Mali.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING THROUGH NORTH AFRICA.

North Africa still remains a hub for all forms of irregular migration. The major transit countries in North Africa include Morocco, Algeria and Libya. The waiting period in these transit countries is indeterminate. Most victims are usually not prepared for the dangers on the long journey by road through Niger republic, facing inclement desert weather, until their destination in North Africa, where they could be subjected to another long period of waiting. Although there are other transit countries through which the migrants are trafficked to Europe, Morocco and Libya serve as Mecca of some sort. The hardship inherent in the transit countries, expose the victims to varying degrees of vulnerability. It is important to note that a good number of the syndicates in the trafficking routes are former irregular migrants who after long period of waiting to migrate without success became members of a trafficking ring. Many of them are Africans among them are women some of whom have become trafficking agents. In Morocco, the chief agents of the trafficking ring are called “Connection Men”. They provide paying accommodation for both irregular migrants and the victims of trafficking. The tendency is that the girls are driven early into the sex market to enable them pay for the accommodation and their daily upkeep. Generally they still remain subject to the trafficking ring that sponsored their departure from their villages and to whom they are already indebted.

In Libya, the experience is similar to what obtains in Morocco but to a higher dimension. Most of the middle level traffickers are Africans working in collusion with some locals. The victim, mostly from West Africa, is subject to the whims and caprice of the trafficker. Unfortunately, the cartel, after a long wait to get their victim across to Europe, could decide to sell the victim to commercial sex agents for a cost ranging from US$500 to US$2,000. Most of the trafficked girls now working under a “Madam” are subject to her rules of engagement. The victim who now is her slave would have to agree to a lump sum amount she had to pay before she gains her freedom. Consequently, she is forced to sign an undertaking on how much to pay daily, until the lump sum is paid off for her to buy her freedom. It therefore goes without saying that as soon as she attains her freedom, she in turn becomes a Madam and establishes her own chain of trafficked person in order to make her own money. In Libya the main agent is referred to as “Trolley”. For the victim the Madam provides her a register numbered from the first day of the month to the last day. Each good ticked, represent the number of men she slept with that day. She may be required to sleep with more than ten men a day to be able to pay the daily debt she had to pay to the Madam, and be required to sleep with additional number of men in order to have something left for her personal upkeep after paying the Madam. Furthermore, some of the trafficked girls are attached to specific brothels referred to as “Connection House”. It is in this connection house that their clients come to meet them. While some of the victims have decided to make Libya their permanent aboard others among them still nursing the desire to get to Europe had to work for longer years as sex slaves in Libya while saving for the risky journey across the Mediterranean into Europe.

TRAFFICKING RING TO THE MIDDLE EAST

The Gulf States of the Middle East remain the popular destination for most migrants from East Africa. This has followed the pattern of the ignoble slave trade between the 1500 and 1900 when the Moslem slave traders held sway. The Bantu people from the interior of East Africa, Tanzania, and Mozambique were transported through the Sahara desert, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to other parts of the world. However, contemporary trafficking in the region could be related to the wealth of the region as the pull factor, coupled with the growing demand for domestic help. The syndicates behind trafficking to the region often bandy promises of well paid jobs either as hair dressers or good paying jobs in restaurants. The persistent unemployment, lingering wars and conflicts, insecurity, economic challenges and poverty remain the push factor compelling young girls from this region of the Sub-Saharan African to be easily lured and trafficked into domestic servitude while looking for alternative means of supporting their families.  African women from Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Kenya, Eritrea, and Ethiopia are duped into lives of servitude after they are promised better paying jobs in the Middle East.

 It is estimated that there are over 130,000 Ethiopian women and children living a trafficked life in the Gulf States and forced into domestic servitude and in some cases forced prostitution. Many of the Ethiopian victims recruited mainly from the rural areas are taken through Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.[ix] It is a case of unfulfilled dream as many of them have complained of severe abuses including physical and sexual assault, denial of salary, sleep deprivation, confinement, incarceration and even murder. 

On arrival in the Gulf State, the syndicate, simply look for interested persons that will take over the victims as domestic help. Once, the payment is made, and the victim is delivered to the home of the new master, contact with the agent that brought her is severed and the domestic staff, remains the property of the new master who dictates the terms of engagement.  The domestic help has no right and remain on duty for 24 hours without rest, while the madam of the house treats her as her slave.  Unfortunately, absence of effective legislation had made it difficult for any of the victims to seek redress under the existing law. The only remedy available to them is for any of them that escaped from the master to seek the assistance of their diplomatic missions, who usually welcome the victim to the Embassy and arrange for final repatriated back home.  

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN WEST AFRICA THE NIGERIAN CONNECTION

Nigeria remains the epicentre of trafficking in West Africa. The trafficking cartel in Nigeria like the major human trafficking syndicates in other parts of the globe operate through a network of traffickers within the sub region, the major transit countries and the destination countries. It is now a major industry for men and women including former victims who instead of condemning the inhumanity experienced under the spell of traffickers see trafficking in women and girls as a major enterprise.

The push factors in Nigeria are multifaceted. The common factor is that of poverty, growing unemployment among young graduates of higher institutions spread across the country, whose expectation for gainful employment after graduation, remain very slim and near nonexistence.  Another factor is that of greed. Some families, out of envy following the visible investments by early victims turned trafficking Mamas, force their daughters into prostitution. There is also the case of some ladies who see prostitution abroad as a means of making money especially outside the shores of Nigeria. The actual victims are those lured into the trafficking net by the traffickers who take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the victims, to deceive them with promises of good employment opportunities abroad. Where the agents facilitate the travel up to the destination in Europe, the travel documents of the victim are kept in the custody of the agent once the victim arrive the final destination in Europe. It is on arrival at the destination that the realities of the mission confronts the victim, who then come to the realisation that her actual reason for coming to Europe is for prostitution and not any decent job earlier promised by the agent. On arrival, the trafficker takes custody of her travel document. She is then under the perpetual control of the cartel, to whom she remain indebted to huge sums of money, in dollars, which she had to labour to pay off before she could earn her freedom. The entry of the trafficking Mamas into the trafficking business had contributed in worsening the trafficking ring in Nigeria. This is the case of Edo State of Nigeria where majority of trafficked victims originate. For families in Edo State, sending their young girls abroad on prostitution has become a welcome business. Unfortunately, the success story of a few of the early victims has become the significant push factor for more girls from the state to be driven into prostitution. Families encourage their daughters to be trafficked. The services of the former victims or trafficking Mamas become readily available. Having been once victims, they serve as recruiting agents for the major syndicates at the metropolitan centres. Their recruitment extends to the villages where they can easily identify vulnerable women and girls including reaching out to their families with promises of profitable employment opportunities abroad. The family members are compelled to sign an undertaking on behalf of the girl, never to misbehave and to keep to the terms of the agreement which the recruiter drafted. A fetish doctor is also involved in the agreement to drive the matter home to the girl on the perpetual consequence of not playing by the rules.

However, the preventive measures taken by the European Union in collaboration with some of the transit countries had compelled the local networks to look for destinations within the sub region. For instance the increased activities of artisanal miners in some countries in the ECOWAS region had witnessed a shift in focus by the traffickers towards mining destinations in West Africa. The Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) noted that 20,000 Nigerian girls have been forced into prostitution in Mali, with many of them working in hotels and nightclubs after being sold into prostitution rings by human traffickers. Most of the girls are from Edo State which is referred to as the epicentre of human trafficking in Nigeria. Unfortunately, they were deceived with the usual promise of taking them to Europe only for them to be dumped in Mali.  Similarly, in Senegal, the increased activities of gold miners have attracted the attention of traffickers who have lured some girls from Nigeria into the mining sites in Senegal.

The girls instead of being headed to Europe were forced and dumped into the squalor of the mining sites in Kadougou, a gold mining region in Senegal. According to United Nations estimate, more than 1,000 women and girls selling sex in Kadougou mine area are from Nigeria.  According to Right Campaigners, the number of women trafficked is rising as the gold rush in Senegal fuelled demand for sex workers. As is the practice, the traffickers often strip the girls of every valuable document including passport as soon as they arrived the base in Senegal and force them to sex slave to be able to pay off what is claimed as indebtedness to the trafficker. Getting the amount is usually an uphill task for the victims in a place where miners pay as low as the equivalent of just $3 a time for sex. Some of the victims recalled being abused by clients including the police officers who usually collect gratifications in order not to arrest them. Although much of the victims wished to return home, they had to first pay off their debt before securing their freedom which takes some years. In addition, they need to slave further to be able to save some money for their journey back to Nigeria. In Senegal prostitution is legalised which makes it a bit difficult for effective legislation that could lead to sanctions as well as eliminate the practice through targeting local vendors.

 Cote d`Ivoire has also become another destination where a number of Nigerian girls are trafficked for the purpose of prostitution. Cote d`Ivoire has become both a transit post and a destination country for trafficking syndicates. Most of the girls were promised better jobs in Europe or as apprentice hairdressers, tailors and other good paying jobs elsewhere in the sub region only to find themselves as prostitutes in Cote d`Ivoire.[x]

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Although early attempts to abolish the inhuman slave trade was supposed to include the elimination of all forms of human slavery, however, the incidence of human trafficking was not holistically addressed at the time. Early efforts at legislation included the provisions within the Slavery Convention (1926) and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, Slave Trade, and Institutions and practices similar to Slavery (1956). Additional tools of international law include segments of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949), the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the Covenant on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW 1979). These instruments laid the foundation for the contemporary conventions and efforts towards the elimination of human trafficking. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, especially Women and Children was adopted by the General Assembly through its resolution 55/25 adopted on 15thNovember, 2000 and which entered into force on 29th September, 2003. It is the first globally binding instrument with appropriate provisions to deal with all aspects of human trafficking. The intention is to provide a common ground for a synergy among states in the establishment of national laws that will allow for international cooperation that would facilitate the investigation and prosecution of cases of trafficking in persons, including respect for the rights of victims of trafficking.  Currently, the main United Nations organ responsible for addressing the challenge of Human Trafficking is the United Nations Office for Drug and Crime. (UNODC).

Since 2000, there has been greater awareness among states towards the establishment of common platform to address the challenge of human trafficking in particular the trafficking in women and girls. As a follow up, series of consultation was held with the European Union as the major destination of most African migrants for a coordinated response to the menace of human trafficking. They include collaboration in the exchange of information, confiscation of the proceeds of crime, enabling the extradition of the criminals involved, and ensure the safe return and restitution of the rights of trafficked migrants. Some of the exchanges centred on mutual legal assistance, international cooperation mechanism, which include joint investigations to dismantle the network of human trafficking.  Regional efforts at collective measures to stem the tide of trafficking in women and girls became common place among states in the region. They include collaborative efforts to track down the syndicates who straddle across state boarders and adopt as quickly as possible those legislative measures that could ensure the criminalisation of manifestations of trafficking in person within and across frontiers.  They also include collaboration among countries of origin, transit as well as destination countries.

AFRICAN UNION

The African Union in responding to the growing activities of network of human traffickers, took steps at various consultative meetings among member states and partners, in particular the European Union and the United States, to sensitise member states to take measures geared towards collective actions to address the challenge of human trafficking including its humanitarian consequences. Consequently, the African Union in 2006, adopted the Ouagadougou Action Plan to combat Trafficking in Human Beings especially women and children. The Action Plan made provision for common African approach towards the eradication of human trafficking, cooperation and collaboration among member states, sharing of best practices and mechanism to combat human trafficking in all its ramifications.  The document was a joint effort by the African Union and the European Union. The Action Plan took a holistic human rights approach and includes measures to protect the victims and prosecute the traffickers. Furthermore the document in addition, made provision for prevention and awareness raising,  To improve advocacy for the document and ensure its application as a reference document for the continent, a workshop under the framework of “Africa Commit”, provided the platform for the conduct of advocacy at regional level, in order to popularise the AU Plan of Action and ensure that state parties, align the continent`s vision in their own domestic legislation in addressing the menace of human trafficking. Furthermore, the document made provision for prevention and awareness raising, institution capacity building, strengthening capacity of the criminal justice system and training of officials, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking, and steps to curb both supply and demand side of trafficking.

The AU sensitization program along with other partner initiatives provided the catalyst needed to compel member states of the African Union and the various regional organisations to step up efforts towards addressing the menace of human trafficking in particular trafficking in women and girls. Efforts by states commenced since 2006, towards the establishment of a home grown legislation taking into account existing international best practises towards confronting the challenge posed by local network of human trafficking. These led to the establishment of local institutions solely responsible with human trafficking, working in collaboration with other security agencies in the effort to have a synergy to jointly dislodge the perpetrators as well as meet the various challenges posed by the traffickers. 

EFFORT BY NIGERIA

Nigeria is qualified as source, transit, and destination country. However, Nigeria constitutes a larger percentage of the victims of trafficking. Much of the trafficking in Nigeria includes a network of Nigerian traffickers who work in concert with some members of trans-national criminal groups. To ensure a coordinated approach, the Nigerian government established the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons. (NAPTIP). The enabling law was first enacted in 2003 known as Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, amended in 2005. Nigeria was the first country to enact a law to curb the incidence of trafficking. NAPTIP was established to fight human trafficking and prescribe some measures to punish offenders, through investigation of cases, prosecution of criminals, and the rescue of victims. The law was further re-enacted in 2015, to increase the penalties for trafficking offenders and for greater effectiveness. The agency receives some collaboration and support from the European Union, the International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations Office for Drug and Crime.  It had since inception made tremendous strides in its effort to confront and combat trafficking, the arrest and prosecution of traffickers including the return and rehabilitation of returned victims of trafficking. It also established rehabilitation centres for the repatriated victims. However, despite the efforts, conviction had remained minimal. This can be attributed to the nature of human trafficking which provides minimal risk for traffickers while operating mainly through a network of middlemen.

In spite of all the efforts, the incidence of this modern day slavery has continued to flourish. The situation had been made worse by the entry of women into the trafficking network. Most of the women traffickers were former victims of trafficking who had now become part of the syndicate. They constitute a formidable force of recruiters, going into the interior to recruit. Additional efforts are still required on the part of government, through its relevant agents to arrest this new development. There is need for greater synergy among similar establishments in neighbouring countries saddled with the issue of human trafficking, to evolve a common approach aimed at tracking the women traffickers.

CONCLUSION

The challenge of human trafficking in Africa has remained an endemic problem that can only be resolved through strong collaboration by states, in particular, states of origin, transit and destination. Domestication of the various United Nations protocol against human trafficking and trans-national organised crime remain imperative in ensuring a uniform approach that will help break the trafficking ring including the network of syndicates that had continued to sustain the illicit trade. Unfortunately, many countries from Sub-Saharan Africa are yet to have an effective domestic legislation that prescribes adequate punishment against the crime of trafficking. Furthermore the focus of the destination countries have been to solve the menace through engagement with the countries of origin where much emphasis has been on tightening border control, as well as strengthening the justice system to be able to arrest, prosecute and adequately punish offenders. This approach tends to ignore the fact that it is a demand and supply tango, because where there is no demand, the supply will simply fade away. In some of the destination countries, prostitution is legalised hence the effort to fight the scourge from the countries of origin.

Furthermore, the African Integration agenda had equally been exploited by the traffickers. The aspect of the integration process, that provides for free movement of persons, goods, and services across the frontiers of member states, has been grossly abused by traffickers. This is the case in West Africa where the ECOWAS Protocol on free movement of persons allows unhindered entry and right of residence for 90 days to indigenes of member states. This has provided a shield for traffickers who can easily move their victims from one ECOWAS country to another unhindered until the final transit country from where the victims are transported to Europe or the Middle East.

Another negative boost to the phenomenon of human trafficking is the entrance of women in the trafficking ring. These are former victims of trafficking known as Mamas and who instead of becoming agents of change, decided to deploy their experience to become major recruiters for the trafficking syndicates. Therefore, to address the problem, requires a holistic review of the root causes and making deliberate efforts to resolving them. The growing rate of youth unemployment, increasing poverty as a result of the weakness of the economies of many African states, the desperation of a good number of the youths for alternative employment, remain  some of the push factors that make the youths most vulnerable and ready to take up any employment, including prostitution abroad. Governments therefore are required to take bold steps towards economic development aimed towards the creation of jobs as a means of rolling back unemployment. There is also need for Governments, working with Civil Society organisations to embark on constructive advocacy not only in the city centres but also targeted to the rural communities. Here the use of traditional institutions, local churches and people of influence including role models to reach out to the youths on the dangers of prostitution abroad remain an imperative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

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[i]The ILO report (2014), “Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour.” Retrievedfrom: https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_243201/lang--en/index.htm

[ii]UNODC. Article 3 “Criminalization of Human Trafficking.” Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/human-trafficking.html

[iii]US National Security Council. “Transnational organized crime: A growing threat to national and international security.” Retrieved from: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/administration/eop/nsc/transnational-crime/threat. See also: United Nations. “Human trafficking: organized crime and the multibillion-dollar sale of people.”Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2012/July/human-trafficking_-organized-crime-and-the-multibillion-dollar-sale-of-people.html

[iv]Human Rights First (2014). “Who Are Human Traffickers?” Retrieved from: https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/who-are-human-traffickers

[v]UNODC (2009). Trafficking in persons: Analysis on Europe.” Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/documents/human-trafficking/Trafficking_in_Persons_in_Europe_09.pdf

[vi]Okeshola, Folashade B. & Adebimpe A. Adenugba (2018). “Human Trafficking: A Modern Day Slavery in Nigeria.” In the American International Journal of Contemporary Research Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_8_No_2_June_2018/5.pdf

[vii]Odhiambo, Agnes (2019). Human Rights Watch. “You Pray for Death” – Trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria.” Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/08/27/you-pray-death/trafficking-women-and-girls-nigeria

[viii] Akor, Linus (2011). “Trafficking of women in Nigeria: Causes, Consequences and the way forward.” In Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. Vol. 2. Retrieved from: https://core.ac.uk/reader/129679454

[ix]Ashene, Elias (2013). “Trafficking of Ethiopian women and girls to the Middle East.” Retrieved from:

https://humantraffickingsearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ashene_elias.pdf

[x]Reuters (March 30, 2017). “Sex for the soil: Senegal's gold rush fuels human trafficking from Nigeria.” Retrieved from: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-senegal-trafficking-sexwork/sex-for-the-soil-senegals-gold-rush-fuels-human-trafficking-from-nigeria-idUSKBN1711A4

 

[1]The ILO report (2014), “Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour.” Retrievedfrom: https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_243201/lang--en/index.htm

[1]UNODC. Article 3 “Criminalization of Human Trafficking.” Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/human-trafficking.html

[1]US National Security Council. “Transnational organized crime: A growing threat to national and international security.” Retrieved from: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/administration/eop/nsc/transnational-crime/threat. See also: United Nations. “Human trafficking: organized crime and the multibillion-dollar sale of people.”Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2012/July/human-trafficking_-organized-crime-and-the-multibillion-dollar-sale-of-people.html

[1]Human Rights First (2014). “Who Are Human Traffickers?” Retrieved from: https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/who-are-human-traffickers

[1]UNODC (2009). Trafficking in persons: Analysis on Europe.” Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/documents/human-trafficking/Trafficking_in_Persons_in_Europe_09.pdf

[1]Okeshola, Folashade B. & Adebimpe A. Adenugba (2018). “Human Trafficking: A Modern Day Slavery in Nigeria.” In the American International Journal of Contemporary Research Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_8_No_2_June_2018/5.pdf

[1]Odhiambo, Agnes (2019). Human Rights Watch. “You Pray for Death” – Trafficking of women and girls in Nigeria.” Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/08/27/you-pray-death/trafficking-women-and-girls-nigeria

[1] Akor, Linus (2011). “Trafficking of women in Nigeria: Causes, Consequences and the way forward.” In Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. Vol. 2. Retrieved from: https://core.ac.uk/reader/129679454

[1]Ashene, Elias (2013). “Trafficking of Ethiopian women and girls to the Middle East.” Retrieved from:

https://humantraffickingsearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ashene_elias.pdf

[1]Reuters (March 30, 2017). “Sex for the soil: Senegal's gold rush fuels human trafficking from Nigeria.” Retrieved from: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-senegal-trafficking-sexwork/sex-for-the-soil-senegals-gold-rush-fuels-human-trafficking-from-nigeria-idUSKBN1711A4

 

 

 


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