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Breaking the Rings of Human Trafficking

Recently, I watched as the Court of Appeal in Nigeria increase the sentence of a lady in her mid thirties from two years to seven years in prison. The lady, who heads a human trafficking gang, was caught by immigration officers while attempting to traffic eighteen young girls across the border to Niger Republic before dumping them in Algeria for full time prostitution. She had appealed against her initial sentence of two years but an obviously irritated and fuming panel of justices varied the sentence.

Throughout the course of the proceedings, top on my mind were the questions, how strong are the provisions of the law relating to human trafficking? How serious is the issue of human trafficking being treated? What social equalities need to be provided to reduce this disturbing act?

I struggled for answers…

For the ladies rescued, their stories varied in degrees and perspective; some wanted greener pastures abroad and were obsessed by it, others were excited about the opportunity to travel to a foreign country, while some others were simply bought for money from their masters who had brought them from the village as domestic workers. With unending promises and false hope of a better life, the young girls quietly packed their bags from their villages without the notice of any immediate family member into the hands of their “helpers”. To these young girls, a good life wasn’t far away; all they had to do was walk into it…

From the onset, the deal was very clear, the trafficker promised to get them initial jobs so they can pay back the cost invested on them. What the poor girls did not realize was that like several other girls who had gone before them, they will either pay for the rest of their lives or pay with their lives!

To ensure compliance, the young girls were taken to a juju priest for oath taking where their pubic hairs were scrapped off as part of the rituals. Such is the level and extent of the worrisome act of human trafficking.

According to the United Nations statistics, 80% of those trafficked across borders are women while 50% of them are minors. In Africa, the root causes of the thriving business of human trafficking ranges from poverty, child labor, lack of employment, lack of family planning, the culture of loaning children or sending them to better suited families to corruption and porous borders. Tighter measures are needed to grind human trafficking to a halt.

The next time that man down the road tries to lure you with a few dollars, the next time that woman upstairs promises you some greener pastures abroad, the next time your friend tries to convince you to walk to seme border between Nigeria and Benin, run to Morocco, swim to Spain and board a train to Italy under the guise of some ‘foreign trip, better life and international trade’ take a closer look at the offer, use your brains and remind yourself the that you are priceless.

As I end this piece, the nagging question on my mind remains, how to we break the ring of human trafficking and how soon can it be done?

I still struggle for answers…

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Comments

usha kc's picture

Hi Peju, thank you forsharing

Hi Peju, thank you forsharing this post dear.
Human traffciking is very burning issue also in Nepal. The root cause to be traficked are as you mentioned: poverty, lack of education, lack of proper legal action and so on.
I think criminal shoud get the life imprisonment. But lack of proper law and lack of practice the criminal always get free form action and get futher encouraged to repeat same.

thank you once again ,
lots of love

Adepeju's picture

Hey Usha, been a while. So

Hey Usha, been a while. So good to read your hearwarming comments again. How have you been?
Honestly, human trafficking has since become a viable bisness for people who exploit various lapses in laws and economic challenges to continue their nefarious activities. I hope someday, we will overcome...

Akwugo's picture

Which way forward?

Thanks for sharing this post. Human trafficking is a serious issue that needs urgent attention. I recently came in contact with an organisation called Lutra Jeunes based in Burkina Faso while they were in Nigeria to return 2 rescued victims of trafficking to their families. The girls were both 15yrs old. The NGO has repatriated about 150 victims to Nigeria since 2009 but their greatest concern is that the borders are so porous that the traffickers have little or no trouble moving these young girls across in large numbers. They showed a documentary in which you can see the terrible conditions under which these girls are forced to work as sex workers in Burkina Faso. Many of them die and the corpses cannot even be identified. It is a desperate situation indeed.

I believe that we need to make more efforts to reach the local communities to educate parents and caregivers on the dangers of allowing or encouraging their daughters to be lured away for "greener Pastures". They should also be made to know that even though they traffickers promise to take them to Europe, most of them will either die en route or end up re-sold in one of the border African countries. My organisation is currently working with Lutra-Jeunes to plan community sensitisation activities in the Niger Delta to show this documentary and engage local leaders to initiate anti-trafficking sanctions in their communities. With this, maybe we can make a reasonable dent in the pool of young girls in our locality who are available for the traffickers to prey on.

Adepeju's picture

Well done girl!

Good work your organization is doing out there. Porous borders are really a bother these days and the fact that next to nothing is being done to the situation makes it even more worrisome. Pls do keep us posted on the works and activities of your organization to stop this nefarious activity.
Much love.

zacyrus's picture

they need our help

thank you for this article, I think it's really a situation that deserves a lot of reflection, and taking responsibility on the part of everyone this inhuman traffic. everywhere we see the traffic that genre. with us all day, and we mean way of notice of search for missing persons. which is really unfortunate, we did not find these people.
we do not even ask questions about this.
Therefore, we need to mobilize all
riana

Adepeju's picture

Hi Riana, I agree with you

Hi Riana,

I agree with you that overcoming human trafficking requires mobilizing all to take responsibility and take action. We must all join hands to put a stop to this activity destroying the lives of young women and children all over. Thank you for your comment.

YAOtieno's picture

Sad

Hi adepeju,

Indeed trafficking is a sad state of affairs. The worst thing about it is that it is mostly women and children who are affected. I recently yread an article by BBC that highlighted the seriousness of trafficking especially in Uganda and for juju !!! Would you believe it ? You can see the article here African children trafficked to UK for blood rituals - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15280776

You have given good advice at the end of the article that i wish could be shared with the parents and girls in rural Africa, unfortunately most have no internet access.. we really need to advocate for universal internet access!!

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Adepeju's picture

Thank you for your comment Y.

Thank you for your comment Y. As you have pointed out, access to technology will make a big difference in the lives of young girls in rural areas. In it they can get adequate information on the ills of trafficking. Community education and sensitisation will go a long way too I'm still stunned by the article I read on human trafficking. May God help us!

MaDube's picture

Hey Peju

You raise exactly the right questions concerning human trafficking.It is an inhumane act that surely must come to an end. Have you watched the film "HumanTrafficking"It is one of the best resources I have come across on raising awareness about the problem of human trafficking. I wrote an article based on the film and you can check it out here on worldpulse or on my blog. Great post.

Adepeju's picture

Hey Madube, thanks for your

Hey Madube, thanks for your comment. No I haven't watched the film you referred to but will look out for it now. Going to your blog right now to read the article...Thanks again

adorablealice's picture

Thanks for sharing this. The

Thanks for sharing this. The other day, i read about the same issue on BBC-children being trafficked from Uganda to the UK. Statistics show that soon, this crime will be the leading crime in the world. I have struggled with the answers too. But we have to keep doing anything that we can to stop the act. Public sensitization, push governments to enact stricter laws and penalties, empower young girls to take charge of their sexuality, work on the grassroots levels and get the families to understand the implications of giving away their daughters for sexual exploitation.

Adepeju's picture

Very useful suggestions you

Very useful suggestions you have made in your comment. Thank you.

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