uman trafficking has continued to assume unsettling forms in Nigeria, with socio-economic, moral, and cultural ramifications for individuals as well as national development. Such repercussions go back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade era. Human trafficking is a shadowy worldwide operation that affects practically every country, earning huge financial rewards for traffickers and their local partners. Nigeria serves as a source and transit country in this worldwide trade, making her a key actor in the people trafficking network.
Nigerian women and girls are primarily trafficked for domestic slavery and sex , while boys are typically forced to labor on commercial farming, plantations, construction works, quarries, and mines, all under inhumane condition. They also indulge in petty theft and drug trafficking. Nigerians are transported to other nations in West and Central Africa, as well as South Africa.
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes’ Global Reports on Trafficking in Persons 2014, trafficking of young women from Nigeria to Europe for sexual exploitation is one of the most continuous and well-organized trafficking routes. In addition, it was estimated that Nigerians made up 60 to 80% of all immigrants working in the commercial sex business in Italy, according to estimates.
In Nigeria, trafficking of children and women for exploitation has two dimensions: internal and foreign. Children are hired as domestic servants on the inside, while trafficking on the outside offers girls and women for prostitution rackets across Europe, and in other cases, naive young girls and women have fallen victims to traffickers who use them for rituals.
With the establishment of a democratic administration in Nigeria in 1999, the subject of human rights, particularly those of women and children, appeared to have risen to the top of the national agenda, with the government, people, and civil society fighting the practice of women trafficking.
This article investigates the origins and repercussions of women trafficking in Nigeria in order to provide potential solutions to the problem.
Many studies have been conducted on this subject, and reasons for the continued existence of this heinous trade have been proposed. Insatiable lust for money, materialism, and discrimination (particularly against women, children, and minorities) are some of the causes, as are violence, general insecurity, internal displacement as a result of ethnic/religious crises, and low levels of education, particularly among women, which have greatly reduced women’s capacity in the formal labor sector, forcing them to seek alternative sources of income.
According to some Nigerian academics, the causes of trafficking include a severely devalued naira, illiteracy, a lack of appropriate attitudes toward women in African traditional social relationships, and the government’s denial of effective citizenship for women and children due to a lack of legal and constituent guarantees. Traditional society, which considers women as second-class citizens, as well as educational shortcomings such as insufficient political commitments, infrastructure, vocational and economic prospects, and the desire for cheap labor in the informal sector, are just a few examples.
Despite the fact that Kano State is an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria, patriarchy is still strongly embedded in their culture. As a result, males believe that women should not be allowed to speak at any gathering, and that whatever men say should be acknowledged and accepted without any obligations or objections from women. As a result, women are overshadowed by their views; they have no authority to object or exert control over their male counterparts. This increases the likelihood of males trading women for prostitution in Mecca and other nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirate.
The war against human trafficking is only just getting started, and it will take everyone’s help to defeat this long-standing evil. The efforts of civil society organizations, mass media organizations, embassies, and state and federal governments to raise awareness about this issue are admirable and should be continued. Before launching new Poverty Alleviation Schemes, the government should conduct an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), as the different ones already implemented have had little impact on Nigerians’ lives.
Adequate education financing is required so that school closures, which result in disruption of the academic calendar, can be avoided. To take this struggle to the grassroots, there needs to be a symbiotic partnership between the government, NGOs, embassies, and funding agencies. Good governance, equal opportunity, justice, and the availability of amenities are also required, as these factors will reduce the desire to migrate. Finally, security officers and the media should be trained in how to treat and handle victims of human trafficking.