Human trafficking in the last couple of years has emerged as a global business that has cut across most countries of the world which reaps a lot of profit for the traffickers and their criminal associates. While there have been a lot of national outcry and aggressive “war” against a number of criminal activities such as the drug trafficking, arms smuggling, etc, the issue of human trafficking has continued as an area that most Nigerians are either reluctant or less interested to discuss. Meanwhile, hundreds, if not thousands, of law abiding Nigerian citizens are either forcefully captured or deceitfully taken away from their people and homes for the exchange of money to the advantage of human traffickers (Jegede, Anyikwa, & Igwe, 2011).
The issue becomes critical when one considers the overwhelming statistics of trafficking in persons in Nigeria. UNICEF (2007) estimates that about 8 million Nigerians are at risk of being trafficked each year internally and externally for domestic and forced labour, prostitution, entertainment, pornography, armed conflict, and sometimes ritual killings. What is worrisome it that the cartels behind the exportation of young girls and women to overseas countries to work in the sex trade remained faceless.
No matter how many times the women might be deported; they seemed to easily procure travel documents to return to the same or different foreign lands to continue in the trade. While some entered into the trade knowingly- sometimes even with the connivance, approval or acquiescence of their parentsothers appeared to have been lured into it with false tales of money to be made from plaiting or weaving hair, working as a maid or children’s nanny-tales which though false could seem quite reasonable to young women anxious to help reduce the hardship being faced by their families.
There are diverse reasons why many Nigerian children are vulnerable to trafficking, as the following factors includes; widespread poverty, large family size, and rapid urbanization with deteriorating public services, low literacy levels and high school dropout rates. The high demand for cheap commercial sex workers in countries of destination also strongly contributes to the growth of this phenomenon and the success of this criminal network. Parents with a large family, often overburdened with the care of too many children, are prone to the traffickers deceit in giving away some of their children to city residents or even strangers promising a better life for their children.
This year’s campaign highlights the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. They are the key actors in the fight against human trafficking as they play a role in establishing effective measures to prevent the crime, identify and rescue victims and support them on their journey to rehabilitation and reintegration into the society. Human trafficking victims have experienced ignorance or misunderstanding in their attempts to seek help, as they have had traumatic post-recue experiences during legal proceedings. Some of them have faced victimization or subjected to stigmatization or have received inadequate support. Learning from victims’ experiences and turning their suggestions into concrete actions will lead to a more victim-centered and effective approach in combating human trafficking.
Dewdrop Foundation established a relationship in 2006 with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to provide protection for abused victims of human trafficking and domestic servitude. Vocational trainings was provided for the victims as a means to empower and create a source of livelihood for them to reintegrate back into society.