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Understanding Human Trafficking

1. What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. It occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person to provide labor and services or engage in a commercial sex act.

According to United Nations, "Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat 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 payments 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 the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;”

  • Internal human trafficking involves from rural to urban or from urban to urban
  • External human trafficking involves from a country to another country.

According to Global Slavery Index, over 45 million people are living in modern slavery globally, and 1, 386 000 Nigerian are victims of human trafficking. Globally, human trafficking earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, according to the ILO report-2014.

In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigerian establishing National Agency For Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) tackle human trafficking and other related matters in Nigeria. NAPTIP is one of the agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice. NAPTIP was established under the federal bill on July 14, 2003 by the Trafficking in Persons(Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act (2003).
Nigerian victims of human trafficking are trafficked within Nigerian cities and communities, as well as outside the boundaries of Nigeria. Every state in Nigeria is affected by human trafficking.

Victim are trafficked for the following reasons:

2. Sexual Trafficking:
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, habouring or movement of people especially women, girls and children with force, deception or fake promise for the purpose of sexual slavery, sex services or other forms of sexual exploitation. The victims of sex trafficking are used for prostitution and escort services, pornography, stripping and exotic dancing, massage palours, sexual services publicized on the internet or in newspaper, restaurants, bars, etc.

3. Labour Trafficking
Labour trafficking includes the following:
  a. Child labour refer to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. Child labour includes: children engaged in agricultural labour, in mining, in manufacturing, in domestic service, construction, scavenging and begging on the streets. These children typically work long hours and for little or no pay.
  b. Forced labour refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threat of denunciation to immigration authorities.
  c. Bonded labour, also known as debt bondage, is a form of human trafficking that involves the trafficker recruiting the victims as a way to pay off debt.

Exploitation through Apprenticeship: This is a form of labour trafficking, prevalent in the south-eastern Nigeria, which has often been neglected. Though, apprenticeship is not exploitation, but there are instances where businessmen/traders (known as Oga) can use it to deceive and exploit young boys. This happens when a boy’s family agrees with the master for the child to serve and learn trade from a businessman (the master or Oga) for either 8, 10, 12 or more years, and at the end of the service, the master will empower him with resources to establish his own business. In addition to learning trade the boy cooks, washes master's and madam's, including children clothes, sleeps on the floor when everyone has slept, eats only when everyone has eaten. However, when the boy (young man) is rounding-up his 10 or 12 years of service, the master will allege that he was stubborn, stealing, and irresponsible, and refuses establish him, and then finally pushes him out of the business.

4. Organ Harvesting
Organ trafficking is the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of living or deceased persons by the use of force, threat, abduction, of fraud, of deception, coercion, fake promises, and disguise to: Request for a person's organ, harvest the organ or make people donate their organ, either for financial gain or any other reason. The organs can be kidney, liver, heart, or any other parts of the body. According to the un gift hub, organ trafficking falls into three categories:

  • Traffickers who trick the victim into giving up an organ for no cost;
  • Those who convince victims to sell their organs, but who do not pay or who pay less than they agreed to pay;
  • Doctors who treat people for ailments which may or may not exist and remove the organs without the victim's knowledge.

According to the World Health Organization, around one in ten organ transplants involve a trafficked human organ, which amounts to around 10,000 each year. Kidneys are the most commonly traded organ

5. Child Soldier/Suicide Bombing
Trafficking for suicide bombing is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, especially girls by means of threat 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 the giving or receiving of payments for the purpose of using them for suiciding bombing or as child soldiers. In Nigeria, and other countries, children are kidnapped or coerced to be suicide bombers. In 2015, over 200 school girls were kidnapped, and some of them were used for suicide bombing

6. Child/Forced Marriage
Trafficking for Forced Marriage is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, especially girls by means of threat 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 the giving or receiving of payments for the purpose of marriage.

7. Baby Factory
There are occasions where young girls and mothers are coerced or paid to fall pregnant and give birth in the factory, known as Baby Factory. There are recent cases where women are either trafficked or paid to stay in a secluded place, get pregnant and thereafter their babies are taken away from them. The babies are either sold to desperate couples or adoptive parents or used for rituals. Some of the girls/women who are forcefully taken to baby factory live in squalid condition without adequate pre and post-natal treatment. The conditions in the factory are unhygienic and totally unsuitable for child birth and the babies.

8. Trafficking for Rituals
Trafficking for rituals involves the removal of body parts including skulls, hearts, eyes and genitals which are sold and used by deviant practitioners to increase wealth, influence, health or fertility. Most often, victims are kidnapped or deceitfully transported to another location before they are killed, and for that reason this form of ritual killing constitutes human trafficking

9. Trafficking for Football
Victims of human trafficking, especially boys, are trafficked through illegal football academies or other means, with a promise of playing in foreign football clubs. Young footballers are trafficked out of Africa every year. Most are taken to Europe in the belief that it will be the first step in their journey to earning a lucrative contract as a professional footballer. Some of these boys are minors. Often times, they are promised trials with major clubs or guaranteed a contract. In reality, most of them have been conned by scheming agents and middlemen, intent on cashing-in on the dreams of some of the world's poorest and most desperate people. In West Africa, there are unlicensed, unregulated football academies, greedy coaches, agents, and foreign middle-men who are preying on young or underage footballers.

10. Trafficking for Begging
Some of the children who are trafficked are forced to beg in the streets, and most times made to steal for the captors. Child begging may sound innocuous, but many of these children are subjected to extreme abuse, including mutilation to make them more easily pitied, and thus better potential earners. They may be disfigured by having an eye gouged out, a limb amputated, or being otherwise visibly scarred. Most children are bought or kidnapped, then forced to beg or pick pockets on the streets under threat of beatings.

11. Domestic Servitude (housemaids)
According to BC Justice system, trafficking for domestic servitude covers a range of situations, all of which share certain features: subjugation, intimidation and an obligation to provide work for a private individual, excessively low or no salary, few or no days off, psychological and/or physical violence, limited or restricted freedom of movement, denial of a minimum level of privacy and health care. Most domestic servants are exploited for their labour in private homes. Most are required to clean the house, do the laundry, cook meals, maintain the lawns and gardens and look after the children, elderly relatives and pets.

Treating a housemaid as a slave is a human rights abuse. The issue of housemaid is a labour matter, which traffickers use to exploit their victims. It can occur when an exploiter takes someone's daughter/son with a promise to take care of her, and send her to school, but end up restricting her from going to school, subjects her to house chores, and denying her freedom of expression, movement, etc

Understanding Irregular Migration

Irregular Migration: This means entry of a person or a group of persons across a country's border, in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country, with the intention to remain in the country.

Smuggling of Migrants: According to Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, Smuggling of Migrants is a crime involving the procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person is not a national or resident.

Virtually every country in the world is affected by this crime, whether as an origin, transit or destination country for smuggled migrants by profit-seeking criminals. Smuggled migrants are vulnerable to life-threatening risks and exploitation; thousands of people have suffocated in containers, perished in deserts or dehydrated at sea. Migrant smuggling fuels corruption, empowers organized crime and can lead to human trafficking.

  • According to Nigeria Immigration Service, no fewer 10, 000 of Nigerians have died between January 2017 to May 2017 while trying to illegally migrate through the Mediterranean Sea and the deserts.
  • According to a United Nations Report, over 4000 Africans died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2016.
  • Irregular migrants from Nigeria account for 21 per cent of the total 171, 299 immigrants that braved the Mediterranean odds to arrive Italy in 2016.
  • According to the figures recently released by the Italian Ministry of Interior, about 171,299 Africans migrated illegally into Italy in 2016 alone. Of this, 36,000, representing 21% of the number is said to be Nigerians. These migrants are mostly youths in desperate quest for greener pastures.

Difference between Smuggling and Human Trafficking:
Human smuggling and human trafficking are not the same. Human smuggling usually takes place with the consent of the person(s) being smuggled and the person’s relationship with the smuggler is terminated as soon as the person reaches his destination.

  • Smuggling can be voluntary, while human trafficking is usually by deception or force.
  • Human trafficking is a crime against individual while smuggling is a crime against a state.
  • Victims of human trafficking can be taken to another country legally, with genuine documents, but smuggled migrants always enter another country illegally.
  • In Smuggling, both smugglers and the smuggled persons are considered offenders by law
  • In human trafficking, only the trafficker is considered an offender by law.
  • Smuggling of migrants involves the consent of the migrant.
  • Trafficking of persons doesn’t involve the consent of the person.

People Are Making Profit Through Smuggling:

  • Migrant smuggling is a highly profitable business in which criminals enjoy low risk of detection and punishment. As a result, the crime is becoming increasingly attractive to criminals. Migrant smugglers are becoming more and more organized, establishing professional networks that transcend borders and regions.
  • Migrant smugglers constantly change routes and modus operandi in response to changed circumstances often at the expense of the safety of the smuggled migrants.
  • Thousands of people have lost their lives as a result of the indifferent or even deliberate actions of migrant smugglers.

Dangers of Irregular Migration/Humans Smuggling:
Young people from Nigeria travel through the harsh climate of the Sahara Desert from Sokoto, through Niger Republic to Libya or Morocco before sailing through the turbulent tide of the Mediterranean Sea to Italy or Spain. At several points in their journey through the Desert, they encounter very hostile communities who subject them to various forms of dehumanizing treatment, such as harassment, rape, sex slavery and hard labour, among others

How Migration or Human Smuggling Lead To Human Trafficking?:

  • People smuggling can lead to trafficking if, for example, the circumstances of the smuggled persons change during the journey or on arrival in the State leading to them becoming victims of violence and exploitation.
  • While migration implies a level of individual choice, migrants are sometimes detained and even tortured by the people they pay to lead them across border
  • Both illegal migration/migrant smuggling and human trafficking are profitable illegal business involving human beings and are carried out by criminal networks.
  • Both human trafficking and illegal migration/smuggling have the same cause or push factor which include: poverty, unemployment, poor cost of production, war, political conflicts, discrimination,
  • Human trafficking can start as smuggling (a person gives consent to be secreted across the border) and at a further stage involve abuse, deprivation of power, exploitation and debt bondage.
  • According to SCS Journals, a case was investigated in2008-2009 in the Netherlands which concerned a group of unaccompanied minors smuggled with the use of forged documents from Nigeria to the Netherlands, and then trafficked to Spain and Italy to be exploited in the sex industry. All of the forged documents were arranged by the owner of the travel agency in Nigeria. A successful international investigation revealed a group of criminals running the gang, it included '”fixers” who arranged accommodation and connecting travel in the Netherlands, and pimps in Italy who had ‘ordered’ the victims.
  • Human Smuggling/Illegal Migration has now become another strategy of traffickers. They make it look as if they are not the one forcing the victim to leave Nigeria, but end up victimizing then on the road or as soon as the arrive the destination country.
  • Some smugglers are traffickers. Some traffickers can camouflage as smugglers willing to assist anyone who wants to travel to abroad for greener pastures, collects money to smuggle them, and end up trapping them. Also traffickers can use smugglers to recruit victims. This can take place when the smuggled person arrived the destination country, he is arranged to meet a trafficker who poses as a helper. From there, exploitation sets in, and the smuggled person automatically becomes a victim of human trafficking.
  • Smugglers and traffickers have business relationships. For example, a smuggler can smuggle a migrant to a destination country, and advice the illegal migrant to contact someone (who is an unidentified trafficker) within the destination country for a particular opportunity. Because the migrant is naïve, and doesn’t know anyone at the destination country, he/she will follow the advice, and end up in a trafficking ring. Now two things have happened, he paid to be smuggled, and secondly, at the destination country be fall in the hands of traffickers.

Understanding Gender-Based Violence

Gender-Based Violence(GBV) is a human rights abuse that include a large variety of crimes committed like rape, sexual harassment, stalking, human trafficking, domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, and forced prostitution all based on one’s gender. The incidence of Gender Based Violence (GBV) is growing rapidly in Nigeria. Victims of gender-based violence can be women, girls, boys, and men; but women and girls more vulnerable to it. Nearly 3 in 10 Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by age 15 (NDHS 2013).

In 2015, Nigerian senate passed its violence against person’s prohibition (VAPP) bill, which seeks to eliminate all of forms of gender-based violence. The bill seeks to eliminate or reduce to the minimum the occurrence of gender-based violence in the Nigerian society, protect the rights of Nigerians against violence, especially violence against women, address the gaps in current laws on violence in private and public spaces.

The most common acts of violence against women in Nigeria include sexual harassment, physical violence, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence, socio-economic violence and violence against non-combatant women in conflict situation.

Globally, violence against men is very low compared to women, but the incidences are often not reported or neglected.


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