Meaning of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is the trade of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means for the purpose of exploiting them.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery whereby humans are traded for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.
Every year thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad.
Agents of Trafficking
- The Traffickers
The Trafficker is the link between supply and demand, on one hand increasing supply through the recruitment, deception, transportation and exploitation process and on the other hand boosting demand by providing easy access to the trafficking victims. This includes recruiters as well as transporters, receivers, pimps, brothel-keepers, corrupt border guards and producers of false documentation, all of whom benefit from victims who pass through their hands. The trafficker is often part of the extended family nucleus or is someone known within the local community.
2. The Trafficked Victims
These include all the men, women and children who are deceived, transported and delivered into the hands of those who exploit them for profit.
Causes of Human Trafficking
- Lack of employment opportunity: The economic system of some countries have left many people jobless. Those that are desperate there by get lured and deceived by traffickers because they want to get out of the country by all means.
- Extreme greed for wealth: Some people want to amass great wealth or get rich quick. They end up in the hands of traffickers.
- Poor economic system: This may cause citizens to want to travel abroad for better standard of living.
- Unwholesome business gains: Trafficking has somehow become a massive business industry in the world, thereby luring individuals with criminal minds to join.
- Low self esteem: Some people do not have self esteem either they are not educated (illiterates) or want to have a better life and they may end up leaving the country by all means possible.
- The search for greener pasture: Some people believe that traveling abroad is the only way one can make ends meet in all aspects of life.
- Poverty: Some families with large number of children maybe poor and might not be able to cater for all the needs of their children. They end up giving out some of their children to people as maids and this way some of their children may fall into the hands of traffickers.
Forms of Human Trafficking
1. Child Labour
Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful.
2. Child Sex Trafficking
Thousands of children are lured, sold, or kidnapped for the purpose of sexual exploitation in hotels, night clubs, brothels, massage parlors, private residences, on sex tours e.t.c. annually. Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and sometimes death.
3. Debt Bondage
Bonded labour is similar to slavery, because it involves a debt that cannot be paid off in a reasonable time. The employer/enforcer artificially inflates the amount of debt, often adding exorbitant interest or charges for living expenses, deducting little or nothing from the debt and increasing the amount of time the individual must work. It is a cycle of debt where there is no hope for freedom.
4. Involuntary Domestic Servitude
Involuntary servitude occurs when a domestic worker becomes ensnared in an exploitative situation they are unable to escape. Typically in private homes, the individual is forced to work for little or no pay while confined to the boundaries of their employer’s property. This isolation keeps them from communicating with family or any other type of support network, increasing the subjection to psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
5. Child Soldiers
It is illegal to recruit through force, fraud, or coercion of children under the age of 18 as combatants or in other roles associated with a conflict, such as messengers, sex slaves/’wives’, servants, or cooks.
Consequences of Human Trafficking on Victims
- Human and Social effects
- Sexual Abuse
- Health Risk in Women Adolescents
- Psychological Trauma
- Effect on population growth
- Modern Slavery
- Illegal Immigrants
HOW NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT IS TACKLING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Nigerian government has made lots of effort to eradicate Human Trafficking by establishing some agencies to fight human trafficking, and also enactment of laws to guide and support their actions.
- NAPTIP (National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons)
NAPTIP is a governmental organisation created for the eradication of human traffic in Nigeria. The 2003 NAPTIP law enforcement and administration Act amended in 2005 to increase penalties for trafficking offenders, prohibits all forms of human trafficking. The Law’s prescribed penalties of 5 years imprisonment and/or a $670 fine with hard labour. 10 years imprisonment for trafficking of children and forced begging or hawking and 10 years imprisonment – life imprisonment for sexual enslavement are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other crimes such as rape.
- Nigeria’s 2003 Child Rights Act also criminalises child trafficking.
- (WOTCLEF) Woman Trafficking and Children Labour Eradication Foundation - WATCLEF is a Non-governmental organisation which has embarked on lots of public awareness programmes and other efforts to stop human trafficking mostly on female folds who end up becoming prostitutes abroad thereby giving Nigeria a bad image abroad. WATCLEF together with NAPTIP enacted the July 2003 abolition laws of human trafficking of children under 18 years of age.
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