While driving to work recently, I was listening to the radio and heard Paul Ukonu speak on the need to stop trafficking of young African women. Apparently, he is the founder of the300Project, which is an Art initiative aimed at decreasing the spread of the menace.
I was startled when I heard his narrative on his experience with a woman he intended to support.
According to him, the woman resides in Shagamu and he decided to pay her a visit to see how he could help support her child who was an amputee.
On getting there, he asked after her other daughter and she said she had gone out. Somewhere at the back of Ukonu’s mind was the belief that the child that “went out” should be perhaps a teenager but to his uttermost surprise, a child not up to 3 years old was who the lady referred to as “not being around”…as if at that stage, she should have the choice of even stepping out of the house unaided not to talk of “going out”. It was a complete shock for him but that wasn’t all that shocked him, while leaving the house, he met the little girl by the road with her ‘other friends’… “By the road!” I exclaimed as I listened. He even volunteered to support the amputee child but her mother insisted that her business was priority. Does that mean the education of the child is irrelevant in this scenario? So it appears but another way to look at it is if the child goes to school, and there is nothing to come back home to eat because her mum can’t afford it, what then happens to their living? (Especially because the husband was certainly not in the picture)… so it sounds logical for her business to be priority? Yes it does but it doesn’t make it right. If a woman like this is offered the ‘opportunity’ of exchanging her child for money, what do you think her response will be? Well, I leave the answer to your imagination.
The reason the discussion came up was because they were sharing on sad statistics that shows the alarming rate of young ladies trafficked out of Nigeria for ‘commercial’ purposes.
One of the ladies who called in mentioned that in the past, when you see people storming the village and sharing money anyhow, they were cautioned to avoid such people because their source of money could not be traced. She said today, the idea is now embraced as such people are not only not being investigated, but are given chieftaincy titles. My question therefore after listening to her was “If for instance, the person is into trafficking of young girls and has made a lot of money doing so, is ‘celebrating’ him or her by receiving their money and praising them or perhaps their ‘works’ in the village the way to go? For the lady who called in, celebrating someone whose source of stupendous wealth cannot be traced to anything tangible is a matter of decay in common moral values once upheld.
It was a revealing discussion and I actually had to park my car to listen through. The crux of the matter remains the fact that sadly, till date, young girls/ladies are daily being trafficked and not enough is being done to properly check this.
Sadly, reports show that Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons including forced labour and forced prostitution. These young ladies and children are drafted from rural areas within our borders for forced internal enslavement and sexual abuse, and boys for mandatory work in street trade, domestic subjection and begging.
According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Nigeria was claimed to be one of the leading African countries in human trafficking with cross-border and internal trafficking.
Reports show that Italy has the leading population of Nigerians oppressed to human trafficking and studies have discovered as many as 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes in Italy imperilled to human trafficking.
There are various anti-human trafficking organisations in Nigeria, also, Police, Customs, Immigration and other officials are being trained on identifying victims among high-risk persons…these are laudable and highly commendable but the question is, if the scourge is still on the increase, so much that even international media are still raising these issues with evidences to back up their stories? There is still a lot that needs to be done.
Tags: Human trafficking