Human Trafficking And Child Abuse In Nigeria (Edo State As The Case Study)

Project and Seminar Material Under International Law and Diplomacy

Human Trafficking And Child Abuse In Nigeria (Edo State As The Case Study)


This research examine human trafficking and child abuse in Nigeria, with specific focus on Edo State.

The study adopted a descriptive method using qualitative analysis to solve the research problems.

The findings from the study revealed the prevalence, incidence and knowledge of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State. The results revealed the causes and determining factors of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State to include poverty and armed conflict; lack of economic opportunity and education; discriminatory practices including gender discrimination; abusive family environments; restrictive migration policies; and poorly regulated industrial sectors. Identified possible solutions to the menace of human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State includes effective poverty alleviation programme, strict law enforcement process and public enlightenment.

The study demonstrated that human trafficking and child abuse were very rampant in Edo State. Following the conclusions, the study propose the following recommendations: The government should legislate against gender discrimination, and make girl-child education free at primary and post primary school levels; The government should set limit to family size; The Edo State government should make adult education compulsory for all illiterate parents; The government should encourage parents’ involvement in cooperative societies through which they will be empowered for economic self-reliance; The government should expand the job market and make employment available to single or unmarried youths to help the care for themselves and think less of migrating away from their State or country.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Globally, child abuse is an intricate phenomenon with multiple dimensions (Champion, 2012). There is no single factor can be identified as to why some individuals behave violently toward children (Kellerman, 2010). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) identify multiple factors at the level of the individual, their relationships, their local community, and their society at large, that combine to influence the occurrence of child maltreatment (WHO, 2011). At the individual level, such factors include age, sex, and personal history, while at the level of society, factors contributing to child maltreatment include cultural norms encouraging harsh physical punishment of children, economic inequality, and the lack of social safety nets. WHO and ISPCAN state that understanding the complex interplay of various risk factors is vital for dealing with the problem of child abuse (WHO, 2011). Both findings from individual and societal level reveals that a strong relationship exist between human trafficking and child abuse across the world.

The incidence of child abuse and neglect in Nigeria is one that has made the living of the Nigerian child a sought of nightmare (Omideyi, 2013). Presently in all streets in the 36 states of the federation there has become great increase in the degree of child abuse in the country resulting in great consequences that have in one way or the order printed a bad image for the country (Omideyi, 2013). Using the nations most commercial state, Lagos as an instance, it is the fact that in all the streets of Lagos there is always an incidence of child abuse (Okeahiaham, 2014). There you find children who ought to be in school out in the street hawking, begging, while others involve in certain odd jobs beyond them but in the real sense this ought not to be (Okeahiaham, 2014). All these has encouraged trafficking of children whose parents has subjected to improper job duties as result of their vulnerability. However, this research will take a position that human trafficking as contributed to the menace of child abuse across the world

Furthermore, human trafficking has become a global business that affects mostly children and young people, including women in developing countries. The United States government considers human trafficking to include all of the criminal conduct involved in forced labour and sex trafficking, essentially the conduct involved in reducing or holding someone in compelled service (United States Department of State, 2013). Human trafficking, according to United Nations (2010), denotes the recruitment, transportation, transfer, labouring or a receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of powers 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, servitude and child labour (Owasanoye, 2012). Operationally, human trafficking is viewed as a modern day form of slavery. It refers to the use of deceit and coercion to recruit and transfer persons either internally within the domestic borders of a country or externally across international borders for the purpose of exploitation. Human trafficking differs from abduction in the sense that while human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery, abduction is the forceful snatching away of people without negotiating for consent (Owasanoye, 2012). Victims of human trafficking are young children, teenagers, men and women who are subjected to force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation, servitude and child labour (Ekpe, 2016). The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF, 2016) indicated that 4000 children were trafficked from Edo, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States to various parts of Nigeria as well as other countries (Uwa, 2010). Internal human trafficking is predominant in some States of the Federation that are categorized as endemic (Uwa, 2010). Such States are Lagos, Ogun and Rivers States in the southern part of Nigeria and Kano, Katsina, Benue, Adamawa and Taraba States in the Northern part. Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Ogun States provide outlets for external human trafficking to ltaly, Spain, Gabon, Benin Republic and Cameroon (Uwa, 2010).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Human trafficking and child abuse are not a new phenomena in Nigeria. They comes with a new trend that’s hard to quantify; children are abused and trafficked within and outside Nigeria for many purposes (UNICEF, 2017; Adepoju, 2015; UNICEF, 2016; Adesina, 2014). Furthermore, internally most of the victims are children (Hassan, 2012) whose numbers are not known (Konstantopoulos 2013); It is a public health challenge affecting the world (Dovydaitis, 2010) with only a few programs to address it (Fong & Cordoso, 2010). Similarly, Bale & Soodater (2009) are of the opinion that the total number of trafficked and abused victims is two times that of olden days’ slavery, hence the need to review its impact on the population. Human trafficking and child abuse are an exploitative act that jeopardizes child survival. Hence the need for this study.

In Nigeria, human trafficking and child abuse erode the cultural ethics where young people are traditionally seen as assets. They are helping hands that can be assigned household, trading and farm work. Their involvements in these activities are considered as part of the socialization and growing up process for the young ones. Parents lend support to the young ones to do age-appropriate works as part of learning and cultural induction. Such work is done in a safe environment provided by the community, under the watchful eyes of the immediate family members.

With increased poverty of local communities, shrinking of communal economy by rural-urban migration and the resulting limitation for decent livelihoods, parents commenced sending their children off to work, believing that could enhance such children welfare.

Intermediaries soon emerged to exploit the opportunity due to the need for cheap domestic help in cities. It rarely takes long before children being trafficked and abused to become objects of forced exploitative and hazardous work situations that are harmful to their welfare and development (Aghenta, 2015).

NAPTIP (2017) showed that much is still required to ensure adequate, safe and healthy environment for such children in Nigeria. It also established that human trafficking and child abuse is endemic in almost all the states of Nigeria and young people and women considered particularly vulnerable because of their weak profile.

Reversing the trend requires well coordinated studies establishing the patterns of such crime with a view to evolving effective empowerment strategies against the crimes. The study is also needed to provide more knowledge, information and in-dept data on human trafficking and child abuse. In the view of the researcher, this has rearly been done in Edo State of Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to analyze human trafficking and child abuse in Nigeria while the following are the specific objectives:

  1. To examine the prevalence, incidence and knowledge of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State.
  2. To analyze the causes and determining factors of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State.
  3. To determine the possible solutions to the menace of human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State.

1.4 Research Questions

Based on the objectives of this research, the following questions are raised to solve the problems under study:

  1. To examine the prevalence, incidence and knowledge of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State.
  2. To analyze the causes and determining factors of human trafficking and child abuse among residents of Edo State.
  3. To determine the possible solutions to the menace of human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The outcome of this study will educate the government and policy makers, the academic and the general public on the relationship between human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State. It will also throw insight into the prevalence, causes and possible solution to the menace of human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State and in Nigeria at large.

Also, this research will serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic

1.6 Methodology

Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily qualitative as it is based on the gender and justice system in Nigeria between 2012 and 2018. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research is a based on secondary data. We used document analysis/content analysis as main method of data collection. Document analysis/content analysis also called “textual analysis” (Travers, 2001) in the study will include all kinds of academic articles, textual and multi-media products, ranging from television programmes to web sites on the internet

Sources of data

In the course of research for this work relevant data and information were obtained from the main sources. These were primary and secondary source.

Primary Sources:

Primary sources which were utilized in the course of the research for this work from archival research. Material was consulted at the National Library, Benin City, Edo State. They include report on gender and justice system in Nigeria and other documents relating to this works.

Secondary Source:

Secondary source which consulted in some university and public libraries across the country include textbooks, journals and periodicals information obtained from primary sources. These sourced helped to provide data and information relating to gender and justice system in Nigeria.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study will cover all issues of human trafficking and child abuse in Edo State from 2010 to 2018.

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