Thursday, August 4

The Need to Curb Child Trafficking in Nigeria

The Need to Curb Child Trafficking in Nigeria
Child trafficking is an inhuman act whereby children are used as objects of business transactions. Children who fall victim to child trafficking are usually from very poor parents who live mostly in rural areas – such parents are deceived by the traffickers who promise to enroll their children in school in the urban cities or in foreign lands. Due to the general thinking of villagers that riches lifter the streets of the cities, they easily give in to such deception.

But instead of enrolling the children either in schools or vocational centres for skill acquisition, the traffickers force them to work as house girls, prostitutes, drug traffickers and in some cases, especially in West Africa, they are forced into combatant; fighting as child soldiers or used for rituals.

In Nigeria, children as young as seven years of age are trafficked for child labour while those in their teens are forcefully initiated into prostitution. It is an open secret that many Nigerian girls engaged in sex trade in Italy and other foreign countries.

What is shocking about the issue is the route the trafficked persons are made to pass through. They are taken through difficult terrains by sea, air or road where some of them lose their lives. The activities of human traffickers and their victims, and the massive deportation of Nigerians to other countries have no doubt increased the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

In recent times, child trafficking in Nigeria is taking a new dimension with unregistered and illegal hospitals and maternity homes springing up where pregnant teens are harboured and their new born babies sold to syndicates without going through the existing laws and proper procedures of adoption.

However, ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST. Government can still work to curb this evil practice in order to save our children and the good name of the country. In this regard, government should provide totally free education in every government-owned school in the country from nursery to the secondary school level so that parents will have no excuses of giving out their children to strangers who promise to send them to school. Government should also pay workers' salaries as at when due to enable them fulfill their financial obligations to their families.

Furthermore, a law prohibiting child abuse and intimidation should be promulgated without delay. Relevant government agencies like NAPTIP, Nigeria Customs Service, Immigration Service and the Nigerian Police should also perform up to expectation and extraordinary standards.


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