When it’s mentioned in Nigeria what readily comes to mind is the Italian connection reports. This is where Nigerian girls are reportedly lured with promises of employment to Europe and unfortunately end up as prostitutes. Another common form of trafficking here is for domestic labor. While most people would sympathize with the children who find themselves abused and enslaved in the name of being house help there’s a tendency to see the adults who want to get to Europe as willing participants not victims. This is regarded as smuggling and the participants are actually committing a crime. However according to Michael Kiselycznyk Human Rights Officer at the U.S. Embassy Abuja the person being smuggled may at any point become a trafficking victim. This is because once the ladies for example arrive at the destination they discover employment waiting is not braiding hair but prostitution. At this point they cannot leave because their passports are seized, they have no friends or relatives or anyone to turn to and no money. In effect, they are now slaves.
- Trafficking violates the universal human right to life, liberty and freedom from slavery in all forms. For children it violates the right of a child to grow up in a protective environment and right to freedom from all forms of abuse and exploitation
- Public health costs: Victims often endure brutal conditions that result in physical, sexual and psychological trauma. Many victims are infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. Unsanitary living conditions contribute to TB and other communicable diseases, children often suffer the worst
- It weakens the rule of law and is a threat to international and national security
Prevention: Public awareness and sensitization
Protection: Arrest, investigation and rescue
Prosecution: 167 convictions, financial and assets forfeiture
Partnership: with other law enforcement agencies and international bodies
He said challenges they face include illiteracy and ignorance, greed, negative effects of cultural practices, legal issues as it affects emerging trends like baby sales, oath of secrecy and so on. It’s apparent that combating trafficking like any crime requires the collaboration of members of the community to succeed. How can you support the relevant agencies to fight trafficking in Nigeria?