Human Trafficking: Its Problems in the Society

Human Trafficking: Its Problems in the Society


Human trafficking started when property was owned in common by all there was no subordinate of man to his fellow man. All men were then equal. Later greedy men acquired immense wealth at the expense of others and assumed the position of master over follows who owned the servant as a chattel or slave, possessing no right of any kind. There are many ways in which a man losses his personal freedom and become servant to a master. One of these ways was the accepted practice by which a king or an important personality received and maintained a number of wards or domestic servants.

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The last group of persons reduced to the state of servitude in West African were the slaves in the true sense of the word. Traditionally a free person was acquired and become slave through sale rulers and other wealth and status in the society by buying as many slaves as they could afford to work for them. Then the sole aim of human trafficking remains economic, human trafficking the canker worm that is eating deep into the Nigerian society has become an issue of worry at the global and national level, despite the official and legal abortion of slave trade, this obnoxious trade still thrives in our society today as human trafficking is used here to refer to trade in human persons, that is, a situation where we have buyers and sellers contacting transaction with human as products for the sole purpose of using the purpose of using the purchased goods for the exploitation benefits of this buyers. Human trafficking could be internal or external.

Human trafficking is indeed very ancient. There is ample evidence that right through ancient times, affluent people kept slaves for physical pleasure or manual labour. Over the Atlantic and exported to different parts of the world as bonded labour. Trafficking only occurs in poor countries. But every country in the world is involved in the underground lucrative system some source countries are the former Soviet territories and Nigeria, but there are many more. The most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Italy, Turkey and the U.S, according to a report by the UNODU, human trafficking has become a lucrative business, to Awe (2001) in 1994 out of 120 suspected prostitutes arrested on an Italian express train, arrival at Madrid Airport, and a batch of 77 women were repatriated from Italy in March 2000, while 17 women were deported from Saudi Arabia.

The term human trafficking is defined or described by the United Nations Convention as the recruitment, transportation, transfer harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the treat or use of force or other forms of coercion of abduction of fraud, of deception of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation shall include at a minimum the exploitation of prostitute of other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or service, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. Professor D.S.B. Omoregie (1929) defines human trafficking as the movement of persons whether underage or adult from their homes, areas, towns within a country or foreign countries in order to earn money.

Harvey (1932) said human trafficking is a process where individuals are exploited for financial gains by other persons.


There are different types of human trafficking, they are;

  • Prostitution
  • Child labour
  • Slavery
  • Drug addiction

Prostitution: this is as old as man and is simply defined as a process where by a male or female offers himself/herself in order to secure a favour from superior persons in terms of wealth or academic pursuit or material gain. Prostitution is also defined as love entanglement with any client willing to pay for sexual services.

Alhaji Illavbare (1989) said prostitution exist in order to raise the families financial position. Prostitution in the modern society has assumed a more complex dimension, a lot considerate part of the population sees it as a means to earn their livelihood to provide for their dependent families, and to some person it is a short avenue to acquire wealth and some other, a hobby, some tribes or ethnic groups indulge ignorantly in prostitution as a means of entertainment to their visitors. Some people see it as a way to satisfy their curiosity, appetite and sometimes for simple fun.

Child labour: child labour has been described as work performed by children under the age of 15 which damages their physical, mental, social and psychological development. Child labour is related to the era of industrialization, it is prevalent in factories and agro based industries. Children become child labourers when they are performing work that is harmful to their physical or mental health, safely as the rights of the child. Child abuse and intolerable form of child labour include dangerous occupation like mining and manufacturing, trafficking of children for pornographic activities, family economic forms.

Slavery: slavery was defined by Karl Marx as a situation whereby greedy men acquired immense wealth at the expense of others and assumed the position of master over their follows who owned or no wealth. The master owned the servant as a chattel of slave, possessing no right of any kind. On of the way of slavery was pawning by which a ward served a money lender as a security, until he was redeemed on payment of the loan. Slavery used to be voluntary and the slaves were even grateful to their lords for the protection and support for livelihood which such lord provided.

Drug addiction: this is a situation whereby a person involved in the selling of drugs which are harmful to the body or human health taken through the normal way. It is a social problem which places a heavy burden on the people in the society. In Nigeria, the purchasing, selling and possession of the following drugs, marijuana or Indian hemp, heroin, cocaine, cigarette etc. are illegal.


The method adopted by human traffickers to attract their victims include, business offers, training offer, hypnotism and kidnap. Ignorance is easily the biggest tool traffickers use to get their victims with promises of good job and prosperity. Victims are usually lured and parents who are already under the heavy burden of economic headships agree without a thought.


A number of reasons account for the high rate of human trafficking in Nigeria especially in Edo state and they are as follows:

  1. Poverty: the pressure of work on traditional bread winners is so intense that it has become almost acceptable to young children. As a result of low family income the childhood of millions of children are sacrificed. These children are made to work under hellish life, but their hopes have been shattered, they have a cost childhood and married future. Since by definition poor household spend the bulk of their income on food, it is clear that the income provided by working children is critical to their surviving. Ilo (1999) so, the major reason why people are involved in human trafficking because poverty is a continued state of want e.g. clothes, shelter, and food.
  2. Greed: some people often think that grass is always greener outside their immediate environment and country; hence they are easily lured into human trafficking and commercial work.
  • Lack of acquisition of meaningful skills: lack of universal education leading to low level of formal education, absence of alternative to schooling creates the opportunity for people to resort to cheap way out of opting for some menial jobs outside the country. Unfortunately, they end up being exploited and reduced to sex slaves thereby getting worse than they bargained for.
  1. Lack of publicity: the government is getting to give enough publicity to the citizen about the dangers inherent to human trafficking the absence of efficient mechanism to support local communities in prevention activities and for the reintegration of trafficker’s minors and young women result in increased vulnerability of individuals.
  2. High level of corruption among security embassy officials.
  3. The belief that education is a waste of time because of the high state of unemployment amongst graduates due to inability to get a job.
  • Inability to enforce existing law on human trafficking.
  • Economic difficulties caused by the structural adjustment programme.
  1. Belief that money is everything, the get rich syndrome and house maid syndrome.
  2. Absence of legislation for apprenticeship system.


  1. Child victims are forced to have imprisoned childhood, ailing youth and uncertain future. This was confirmed by a statement from one of the victims “we came here empty handed and we are returning home empty handed, with nothing to look forward to”.
  2. Human trafficking has serious and dangerous effects or implications for individuals in particular as well as the nation in general as victims of human trafficking have to be destigmatized and depsyched of trauma of having been abused, deprived and exploited.
  3. Terminated academic careers.
  4. Loss of lives
  5. Poor national image
  6. The victims create enormous weak and profit for their explicators but seldom
  7. Harboring criminals: men of the underworld at times use hotel as with prostitute as hide out when they operates in a town.
  8. Bareness
  9. The spread of sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea, syphilis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome through sexual intercourse.


Though the phenomenon of trafficking has existed for long, the scope veracity and momentum has increased progressively and assumed a wider dimension in recent times. It is now mostly a business whose product are nice looking young girls and women between the ages of 10-25 years who are exported to countries like Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherland, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia where they are made to engage in prostitution. Despite international efforts to curb the trade child slavery persist in West and central Africa from where Europeans slave trade shipped millions in the 18th and 19th centuries anti women campaigners says that victims despite their been young are forced and subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Amina Atiku Abubarkar executive director of WOTCLET revealed that at least 1,116 trafficking girls were deported from various countries. The guardian of 29th January, 2009 page 6 reported the efforts of 3 young girls and their facilitators to travel to a foreign country for the purpose of prostitution were truncated by the vigilance of men of the immigration department of the same border. The girls involved were Mabel John Julie Festus, Anda 17 years old patience they claimed to have been deceived into the act and were full of regret. They further claimed that their impoverishment condition made them easy prey of deception and cashed they could be given financial or materials assistance to embark on meaningful economic activities.

In the same write up mention was also made of a group of girls who were arrested by immigration officers but later released on the instruction of some big men./ the Anambra State Commission for women affairs Mrs. B. Ekwol who was believed to have played a role in the busting of the market said that 12 babies and unspecified number of pregnant baby making girls have been librated from the camp page 10 of the Guardian of 31st August, 2009 repeated the thwarting of the efforts of an organization to smuggle 100 young women into Libya under the guise of sending them to a cultural show. They were caught at the point boarding a plane in Senegal. Similarly, the guardian edition of November, 15th 2009 reported that two Nigerians and 23 Togolese girls alleged being trafficked to Akwa Ibom State was arrested by the police. The two men, a driver and the girls were paraded before journalist. Also a Paris news magazine marriage reported recently that there are many female traffickers out there masquerading as big time soccer agents. Hundreds of these young African girls are enticed with the dream of dazzling career (the news Vol. 17, No. 15 October, 15th 2009).

The issue of human trafficking is a booming business in Nigeria especially Edo State. The punch of Nigeria October 19th, 2009 had reported that Calabar the Cross Rivers State capital is not a transit point for human trafficking in Nigeria. According to the paper, because of the declared want on the illicit trade especially recruiting girls of prostitution abroad by Edo State Government and consequent security alert at the Nations Western boundaries dealers in human being and their agents have discovered Calabar a safe haven. Many of the barons of the human trade have now relocated to Calabar where the recruit natives of the state with promises of good jobs and glamorous life style abroad. The barons caught on the related security in the state because of low crime level they now use Calabar Ports and the various Greeks in the area to transport girls to neighboring countries of Gabon, Libya, Equatorial of Guinea, Cameroon among others. The reporters said many of the victims sold their parents properties without their knowledge and went to Italy with the money, specifically mentioned was a case of a woman in Edo State whose son wanted to sell his father only house after his death but that she stopped it when she inscribed on the wall the sign “this house is not for sale the sign is now a common feature on the wall of houses in Benin. According to controllers general of Nigeria immigration services (NIS) investigations have revealed that the men usually illumed the girls to some West Africa Countries and force them to sex workers under the protest they had no money to continue the journey. Alarmed by this spate trafficking girls the wife of the vice president. Tit Abubakar was reported in an NTN news programme of 27th September 2008 cautioning those who engaged in the business of trafficking to leave Nigeria alone.


Several persons and organization have been working conspicuous efforts to combat the problem of trafficking in women and chi8ldren starting with a research report by Osakue and Olateru Olagbegi (1977) in which they established TIP exists in Nigeria, many organization have made efforts to minimize the incidence as well as caution the effects on victims. These efforts include public awareness campaigns since 1996 by the international reproductive right research action group (IRRRAG) Nigeria women’s consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) girls power initiative (GPI) and more recently by idea renaissance and WOTCLEF since the inception of civilian rule in 1999 for instance while GPI and IRRRAG get inside a day in November annually since 1996 as a day of action against Tip. Titi Abubakar the wife of the vice President and executive directors of WOTCLEF under took a national tour which was flagged off at the oba’s palace in Benin City to create and sustain awareness as reported in the guardian of Wednesday 17th January, 2001. And also page 7 of the guardian 27th March, 2001 reported that a bill of protect victim prostitution in Nigeria but protect victim and sincerely punished the traffickers had been drafted by WOTCLEF and sent to the national assembly for due process and action. Earlier on we were informed in the guardian issue of 17th 2001 that WOTCLEF had counseling facilities were not less than 282 girls including a part II university drop out received counseling and rehabilitation service between 2000 and 2001.

Eki Igbinedion, wife of the then Edo State Governor and founder of idia Renaissance a project on moral rearmament and cultural networking is also known to have done much public enlightenment work or TIP, it was reported that a skill acquisition centre to rehabilitate repatriated victims and other interested in acquiring necessary skills that would facilitate self reliance and reduce the urge to travel out for prostitution and allied vices had been set up by the Idia Renaissance and Edo State Government. The same issue of guardian also reported the conclusion of plans to build a 100 room hostel to provide accommodation for girls refused to be coerced or deceived into being trafficking. Gbemi Ohibi in the same write up reported of the passing into law of the anti prostitution and trafficking bill proposed by Mrs. Eki Igbinedion to Edo State House Assembly.

In a one day workshop organized by WOCON, participants had maintained that one of the deadly efforts of trafficking is the escalation of incident of prostitution in Nigeria and other parts of the world in order to stem this problem WACON aims at rehabilitating a least 300 girls for its re-integration programme WOCON according to this coordinators Bisi Olatemi Olagbegi is to provide assistance to targeted girls their parents, guardians and employers to alleviate conditions which necessitated their reliance either on the earning or the services of female, the workshop among other things fingered poverty as the main cause of woman\girls trafficking.

WOTCLEF also organized workshop on women trafficking. At the end of the three days workshop, the communiqué called for the establishment of Nigerian women trafficking law enforcement agency (NWTELA). This is to be structured like the Nigeria drug law enforcement agency (NDLEA) to curb the menace of female trafficking, according to the communiqué, the (NWTELA) when established should be charged with the responsibility of enforcing law that deal with female trafficking, prostitution and child labour it also called for new laws that would impose stiffer penalties for traffickers in women and their accomplices regardless of their status, either as parents or relatives of the victims.

There should be improvement of technical cooperation between the Nigerian and Italian government to strengthen their local and national instrument to reduce trafficking in minor and by young women from Nigeria of local administration and vivid society of the two countries. The government should make it possible to include it in the school curriculum and job opportunities should be created for young and the virile citizen people should maintain high moral standard and self respect and they must avoid involving in human trafficking, the federal government must ensure free education at all level in the society as a means of curbing illiteracy and poverty. It must become pertinent national organization, non government organization, youth organization, women groups in the society to complement the effort of the government through awareness campaigns as a means of controlling the ugly trend. Seminars and workshops should be organized to enlighten the angers of human trafficking and parents should strife out to meet their children needs especially the female.


Human trafficking contravenes in its ramification, fundamental human right as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria section 34 and 35 state as follows:

  1. Right to dignity of the human person every individual is entitled to respect of the dignity of his person and accordingly.
  2. Right to personal liberty: every person shall be entitled to personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty.
  • No person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.


The United Nations general Assembly adopted the universal declaration of human rights in 1948, fifty years later in 1989, the UN approved the convention on right of the child. It is most widely subscribed international convention on history, it includes general restriction on child labour. State protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education to be harmful to the child health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development (Article 32).

The ILO was established in 1999 burring the industrialization Europe, when labour become rampant. The call to establish a tripartite organization representing government workers. The first ILO conversion on child labour was adopted in the year of this foundations since the ILO had introduced among it members states several conventions that exacts restrictions on the work of minors, the most important of them is the convention on 138 of 1973 entitled minimum age for admission of employment. Another important instrument is the forced labour convention No 29 of 1930 which is used to examine practice of child slavery, convention 182 which deals solely with the worst forms of child labour was adopted in June 1989 at ILO it was a new legal instrument aimed at banning and taking immediate measures to eliminate these worst forms.


Education is the process whereby individuals acquire knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes. Education is very important to an individual, it help to develop mental capability, widen horizon and increase job options, education also help in the development of sound standards of an individual’s conduct and behavior, education therefore provides for both personal and individual as used for national economic efficiency. It is therefore important that every individual acquires basic education. It is equally very important that after primary and secondary education, the people should strive to acquire tertiary education, education is said to be an agent of positive change. Education acquaints people with specific skills, it is regarded as a power instrument of social change and national development. This hold to the foes developed and less developed to the extent that promoting and sustaining quality education are never left to chances.

It is believed that the quality of life in the society can be greatly enhanced through education. Human trafficking education implies information dissemination to people regarding the nature, the effect and the control of the act it should go beyond instruction in the formal school setting to that of the informal, non government organization and governments according to Okafor (1981), the functional value of education is not obsolete, but relative to place, time and circumstances with the ultimate goal of ensuring happiness. In support of this view, Obayan (2002) stated that we must consider the problem of education beyond classroom grooming of the young certification through examination, the development of persons through conventional subject discipline and the inculcation of conventional technical skill, the inculcation of literacy skill etc to also encompass active citizenry education is a means to an end.

Human trafficking education should be the means to an end, the current rate of effects of human trafficking which has brought sorrows to many home and mankind. It is believed that when people are armed with sufficient information concerning the devastating nature of the problem ands available preventive measures, the present rate of the human trafficking can be minimized and in the long run stopped. Education can be seen as a means to equip people with the relevant information so that they can safeguard themselves against human trafficking scourge. What is more, some of the factors that have been attributed to the causes of human trafficking, include poverty, high level of corruption, lack of literacy, greed, debt bondage etc. all these to say the least are issue in education, good education will positively affect the way of these issues.

Human trafficking education when vigorously pursued by all concerned will indicate in youth, firm, kind reasonable and consistent ability to refuse any act of trafficking, because the human trafficking or profiteers may have been deceiving or using business offers for the person, the only way towards is education. Therefore, education is the instrument adopted to eradicate all these issues facing the society.

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