A Critical Analysis Of Socio-Cultural Factors Hampering The Eradication Of Human Trafficking In Nigeria

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A Critical Analysis Of Socio-Cultural Factors Hampering The Eradication Of Human Trafficking In Nigeria

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

The history of human trafficking, especially the trafficking of women and children, is inextricably linked to the institution of slavery. This is due to the fact that both involve the acquisition and transportation of persons for servitude across local, national, and international borders, with or without the agreement of the trafficked person (s). According to Oshadare (2004), slavery is the social sanction of involuntary servitude imposed on another by one individual or group. He explains that slavery emerged as a phenomenon when pristine cultures reached the pastoral (as opposed to hunting and gathering) stage of development. Slavery was limited in terms of the slave population at the time, because the flock’s maintenance required only a few hands. According to Omolola (1982), a more drastic transformation in the character and complexity of slavery occurred between the late 15th and mid-19th centuries, when numerous Africans were carried over the Atlantic as slaves in what became known as the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The transatlantic slave trade, which included both Europeans and Africans, spanned four continents: Europe, Africa, and the two Americas. Following my travels, I discovered that countries such as Brazil and Haiti were teeming with rich mineral riches and plantations ripe for exploitation.The exploitation of these resources necessitated a vast pool of labor, which the native Red Indians were unable to provide. As additional plantations and mines were established, the demand for slaves surged tremendously, and the focus switched to Africa. This was the beginning of the huge importation of able-bodied Africans as slaves into the New World. This pattern of human trafficking for forced labor persisted until 1808, when the heinous trade was finally outlawed (Oshadare, 2004). Although the slave trade stopped about 200 years ago, a modern form of slavery, the trafficking of women and girls from Third World nations, notably Africa, for exploitative sexual and commercial labor in Europe and America, has been on the rise in recent years. Several sociopolitical, cultural, and poverty-related factors may have contributed to the occurrence of human trafficking in Nigeria. According to the FOS (1999), because rural areas were the hardest hit, mass migrations increased city populations as parents and families began to take greater risks in an attempt to escape poverty and better their living conditions. Accepted procedures such as placing and fostering children in relatives’ homes were turned into money-making operations for parents, and the phenomenon of cheap labor through human trafficking grew, sending a huge number of young girls, women, and children into the streets to work. In Nigeria, the trafficking of children and women for exploitation has two dimensions: internal and foreign. Internal trafficking recruits youngsters as domestic servants, while external trafficking recruits girls and women into prostitution rackets throughout Europe, and, in other cases, naive young girls and women have fallen prey to traffickers who use them for rituals. The establishment of a democratic administration in Nigeria in 1999 appeared to have put human rights, particularly those of women and children, at the top of the national agenda, with the government, people, and civil society pushing against the phenomenon of women’s trafficking. This study investigates the origins and repercussions of human trafficking in Nigeria in order to propose potential solutions to the problem.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Given the horrific treatment that trafficked people undergo, the subject of human trafficking is gaining attention from a variety of sources. The concern and attention that the threat of human trafficking has begun to garner originates from the awareness that, being a national and worldwide crime, no single country or government has the capacity or resources to abolish it entirely. No one knows for certain when the phenomenon of human trafficking began, although it can be said to have acquired prominence in Nigeria in the 1990s. No one knows for certain when the trafficking of women began, although the phenomenon may be traced back to the early 1990s in Nigeria, when drug trafficking and Advanced Fee Fraud (419) were popular. This explains why the American Drug Enforcement Agency, the International Police Organization (INTERPOL), and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, decided to crack down on drug traffickers as a group (Muhammed, 2004). Numerous factors, including poverty, ignorance, and family size, explain why girls and women are easy prey for traffickers’ antics.Poverty, as is generally known, is an inherent and realistic reality, particularly in Africa. According to the World Bank (1995), more than 45 percent of Nigeria’s population lives below the poverty level. Similarly, Chauhan (1978) noted that in most poor homes, parents can barely meet their children’s genuine demands. He went on to say, somewhat bitterly, that most poor parents are exposed to the deception of traffickers who promise their children rich and ostensibly fulfilling occupations just to entice them into prostitution and forced labor abroad. Saricho (1996) and Olayemi (1995) believe that a poor man can do anything to break free from the constraints of poverty, including selling his own daughters to human traffickers. Aside from poverty, many of the girls and women trafficked abroad are unaware of the fate that awaits them in their destination country. Some of the victims, who have little or no formal education, are readily swayed by the vision of Eldorado offered by their dubious sponsors. According to Adomako-Ampofo (1997), many such victims have suffered severely from their stupidity while in Europe. Some academics have also linked trafficking to family size. According to Nye (1970), teenagers from larger households are more prone to feeling abandoned and rejected by their parents than those from smaller families. He contended that rejected and abandoned teenagers seek solace outside the home, rendering them vulnerable to traffickers’ tactics. Fighting the threat of human trafficking needs a coordinated and consistent effort from all parties. This explains why, in Nigeria, there appears to be a coordinated effort between the government on the one hand and civil society on the other to eradicate female trafficking. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo openly condemned the practice of human trafficking, calling it despicable and calling for coordinated efforts to eradicate it from Nigerian society (Rotimi, 2001). As part of the effort to eradicate human trafficking stemming from former President Obasanjo’s pledge, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, was established in August 2003 to investigate, prosecute, and punish all offenders in Nigeria who violated the law against human trafficking (Olori, 2003). Despite well-intended concerns such as those expressed by former President Obasanjo and other stakeholders in this portion of the paper, the International Organization for Migration (IOM, 1996) reports that very few of the Nigerian women trafficked to Italy seek to return to their place of origin. In light of the foregoing issues, the author attempts to elucidate the push and pull reasons responsible for the apparent continuance of human trafficking in Nigeria in this research. In doing so, we will address a number of issues, including: what are the causes of human trafficking, what mechanisms the government has put in place to combat the problem, how effective are those mechanisms, why has women’s trafficking persisted despite the existence of legislation criminalizing the practice, and what are the consequences of women’s trafficking?

1.3 Objective Of The Study

  1. To investigate the socio-cultural factors obstructing the elimination of human trafficking in Nigeria.
  2. To identify the methods put in place by the government to eradicate human trafficking in Nigeria.
  3. To analyze the effectiveness of the government’s methods for eradicating human trafficking in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the socio-cultural factors obstructing the elimination of human trafficking in Nigeria?
  2. What are the methods put in place by the government to eradicate human trafficking in Nigeria?
  3. How effective is the government’s method of eradicating human trafficking in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

Human trafficking research is critical to ensuring proper prevention, protection, and support for trafficked individuals, as well as the punishment of the perpetrators. Ongoing research is required in numerous critical areas, including the characteristics of trafficked people and the conditions of vulnerability; traffickers’ strategies; and the scale of the problem, including the number of trafficked people; and to monitor, evaluate, and assess the efficacy of prevention and rehabilitation initiatives in order to guarantee that sponsored programs are effective.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The research focuses on the Analysis of Socio-cultural Factors Hampering the Eradication of Human Trafficking in Nigeria. To accomplish this, the study examines socio-cultural factors obstructing the elimination of human trafficking in Nigeria and the methods put in place by the government to eradicate human trafficking in Nigeria. The study focuses on the country’s immigration sector. It is expected that the findings will be applicable to similar cases throughout the country. The immigration service in Ikeja, Lagos state, Nigeria, was used as a case study.

1.7 Limitation Of Study

This study was limited due to time and financial constraints.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Sociocultural Factors:

Are the larger-scale forces that exist within cultures and societies and influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Human Trafficking:

Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour and sexual slavery.

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