In 2014, the International Labour Organization (ILO) made an estimate of $150bn as the annual proceeds generated from forced labour which is a derivative of human trafficking. The continual adverse impact of this ugly menace can be seen in all continents of the world, with its prevalence in Asia, America, Europe and Africa. The economic opportunities associated with this age-long crime against humanity has been one of the driving forces behind this practice. Painfully speaking, the end to this quagmire is still far fetched because of its cancerous nature and the potential profits attached thereof seem to be irresistible.
By way of simple comprehension, human trafficking can be defined as an organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited (Merriam Webster). This subject matter is so broad that its ultimate explanation seems to be an uphill task. Human traffickers have led their unsuspecting victims into bonded labour, forced labour and child labour. Statistically speaking, Asia and the Pacific have the highest number of child workers, whereas Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of child labour. The house-help system in Nigeria can also be likened unto child labour due to the numerous cases of domestic violence and maltreatments being experienced by the children involved. A lot of goods and services such as clothing, cocoa, bricks and gold are being produced through forced labour.
It is worth noting the various types of Human Trafficking, which are:
Trafficking of children/minors
Trafficking for the harvesting of vital human organs
In 2019, while having a discussion with a young lady, she told a touching story of her experience in Cotonou (Benin Republic) where she was brought to voluntarily in search of greener pastures. It was unknown to her that the woman who brought her to Cotonou was a sex trafficker who sold her high hopes of prospective success. She eventually managed to abscond from her traffickers and found her way back to Nigeria, but the damaged had already been done. Fortunately for her, she was one of the lucky ones. Alot of them never escape, some are killed and their families never know, others become drug addicts and in some cases die of drug overdose.
There are many other stories of young girls who are trafficked to Italy and Spain in search of greener pastures. Many couldn't make it back home to their respective families. Young African men have trafficked and smuggled themselves to far-off countries in search of a better quality of life. A large number of them die under adverse conditions, while crossing a desert or the Mediterranean Sea.
It should be pointed out that there are lots of factors that lead to this menace and these factors still encourage youths to undertake these gruesome death defying trips to other countries in search for a better quality of life. Some of these factors are:
Institutionalized social discriminations against women and children.
Advent of Internet with its facilitations of commercial sex trading.
The ease associated with transportation of victims due to the effects of globalization.
Corrupt practices associated with law-enforcement agencies and the inadequacies inherent thereof.
The alarming consequences and the societal impacts of human trafficking has always been a great cause of concern. Victims were subjected to physical abuse, emotional traumas and psychological stress. Other health related consequences of human trafficking are STDs and other transmittable diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
World organizations have put in a lot of efforts into fighting the ugly menace of human trafficking. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the single largest global provider of services to victims of trafficking, reported that, there was an increase in number of cases in which victims were subjected to forced labour. Reports show that, 2010 was particularly notable as the first year in which IOM assisted more victims of labour trafficking than those who had been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. The IOMs' main focus is "to provide secure, reliable, flexible and cost-effective services for persons who require international migration assistance (Wikipedia). Various world governments bodies have also expended a lot of finance and manpower in the fight against Human Trafficking. The Human Rights Protection agency in Nigeria are also putting all hands on deck in determining the underlining cause of human trafficking in Nigeria.
Human trafficking will always be a threat to the right of freedom and free will. There is no doubt that it must be nipped in the bud, anything less would be considered social injustice. Human trafficking in Africa is a direct consequence of poverty, unemployment and poor social economical reforms. Creation of employment opportunities through direct government investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and industrial services will boost the economy and the quality of living. Government investment in healthcare infrastructure and services will also have a positive impact on the quality of living in Africa. Lastly, the creation of a social benefit system funded through taxes is essential in any modern day economy. People need something to fall back to when they are unemployed, and a social benefit system is the only fair solution to this. We conclude by saying, it might not be possible to totally eradicate human trafficking in any country but a balanced social economic system will ensure people have a good quality of living, which will reduce the likelihood of them becoming victims of human trafficking.
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