Human Trafficking: The Position Of Health Care Professionals

Project and Seminar Material for Public Health

Human Trafficking: The Position Of Health Care Professionals


Abstract


The issue of Human Trafficking has become one of the alarming issues in Nigeria as it is highly prevalent. This practice has increased recently and the youth are deceived and sometimes coerced into migrating to foreign countries without adequate protection from abuse and exploitation. Two types of Research Design are employed: Explanatory Research. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are applied; and primary and secondary sources of information are employed. The major tools utilized are case study, interview, and self-administered questionnaire. The target populations chosen for this study were of course health care professionals from Ogun State specifically from Ogun state teaching hospital, Nigeria.

The study has identified different economic, social and cultural factors as main causes of trafficking. Such factors as poverty, the desire to improve one’s life, lack of opportunity and low payment for domestic work were mentioned by the informants as main causes of trafficking in Nigeria. Added to this, migration policy of countries, promises of steady employment, pressure from the society, success stories told by migrants, low level of education, failure in education, forced marriage and abusive family conditions were also among the socio-cultural factors identified in the study as contributing factors to trafficking. The study has also sought to explore the trafficking process and the multifaceted problems being faced by the trafficking victims in the process. In this study it is discovered that trafficked persons experience multifaceted problems in the trafficking process, starting from their place of origin till they reach the destination country.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Nigeria has seen great improvement in several sectors of development (socially, economically, and politically). The economic sector is the major area of development. Such growth includes infrastructural adjustments to attain the Millennium Development Goals and national strategic plans of the government. But, despite these great achievements, the majority of Nigerians continue to live in poverty and its outcomes. As a way of coping with all of these issues, the people have resorted to often dangerous and appalling options, such as involvement in crimes for profit, prostitution and other implausible activities. One of the major choices people resort to is become clients of illegal brokers to escape to other countries through human trafficking. Why not search for alternatives right here in Nigeria? What pushes them to choose crossing boarders through this process? This research will be dealing with these issues.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or 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 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 (UN, 2000). It is an emerging problem rapidly growing in the 21thC (Interpol, 2009). It is a situation in which trade of humans takes places, most commonly sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others (Wikipedia). Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain (Homeland Security, 2015). It is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fears of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement (Homeland Security, 2015).

As outlined in the definition, trafficking in persons is more than simply moving someone from one location to another against their will, and more than forcing someone to work in poor conditions (IMO, 2006). The complex phenomenon of human trafficking is often confused with other forms of people movement, such as irregular migration and smuggling of migrants. As a result, people who have been trafficked are treated as criminals rather than victims (ILO, 2011). On the other hand, when people agree voluntarily with smugglers to cross the borders of a country, the event is known as smuggling, and both the smugglers and smuggled people are considered to have breached the immigration laws of both countries. This may occur where people may not have legal means to cross the border; or they are not aware of the available legal channels to do that, or in some cases, where there are no legal channels for migration at all (ILO, 2011).

Majority of statistical data on human trafficking are raw and unrefined estimates (Salt, 2000). Global marketing, based on the recognition of major countries that implicate human trafficking, might be useful for planning and evaluation. Mapping these “Hot Spots” can offer valuable data on human trafficking (Kangaspunta, 2003). If the trafficking of women and men were examined separately, it would be possible to estimate the victims of trafficking in the country of destination after their recruitment and transportation (Kangaspunta, 2003). As a result, it is established that 85% of female victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 2% for forced labor, while 13% include both types of exploitation, whereas, 16% of male victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 24% for forced labor, with 60% of the cases including both types of exploitations (Kangaspunta, 2003).

A vast majority of Nigerian youth work in the informal and agricultural sector, characterized by ease of entry, reliance on local resources, small scale, labor intensive, and the need of simple skill obtained outside the formal educational system (Emebet, 2000). As household incomes have fallen, the contribution of the youth became essential and, as a result, more and more young people are turning to informal employment sectors given their lack of skills and training. With minimal or no education, access to the formal sector of the economy is limited (Emebet, 2000). As a result, illegal agents are preferred by people in search of better life abroad and often end up in human trafficking. The revised Criminal Code of Nigeria incorporates provisions that criminalize trafficking in persons (articles 596, 598, and 635), indicating the need for supplementary analysis on the causes and consequences of human trafficking (ILO, 2011).

Foreign counties are usually places of destination for the progression of Human Trafficking (Martin Baldwin-Edward, 2005).

This issue has become beyond the government’s or even beyond the citizens’ control. Even though they witness what happens to their brothers and sisters on media, they still prefer to go through the torturous and anguishing journey. Somehow going through the territories of countries they don’t even know gives them more relief than finding employment in their own country. Is it lack of employment and other issues or is it pure stubbornness? This research will be dealing with these questions and various other issues as well as suggest solutions on how to tackle them.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The issue of human trafficking has become one of the alarming issues of the century. Trafficking of Nigerians is highly prevalent in Nigeria. This practice has increased recently and the youth are deceived and sometimes coerced into migrating to the Foreign countries without adequate protection from abuse and exploitation (ILO, 2011).

Exploring the causes of human trafficking patterns in the Horn of Africa is complex due to the fact that there are so many agents present at the same time. The number of refugees from Nigeria increased from 55,000 in 1972, to over a million in 1992. Even though Nigeria has encountered trafficking in the past, movement of Nigerian citizens significantly intensified in the late 1960s and 1970s (ILO, 2004). But, the issue of trafficking has not been adequately addressed within the country. The consequences faced at the place of destination have been a hot issue of discussion from time to time, but little has been done to improve the situation. Few private initiatives have been taken to address the issue of exploitation. Efforts that have been made are scattered related to specific cases, and do not address the root causes of the problem (Emebet, 2000).

There has been less funding for long-term research to investigate in more detail the causes of trafficking and the best ways to prevent and combat it, or to make a detailed assessment of the impacts of different interventions and policy responses. There are very few comparative studies of trafficking based on extensive fieldwork in either country of origin or of destination. Most studies are also based on research conducted at one point in time, with little longitudinal research investigating the circumstances of individuals before, during, and after trafficking, including research to assess the extent to which survivors and the extent to which they are able to integrate or reintegrate into their communities and recover both physically and mentally from their afflictions (ILO, 2005).

There is also divergence between different government departments within states; between governments, NGOs and Civil Society, and between governments and other stakeholders in origin, transit and destination countries (Koser, 2005).

Both men and women migrate, women mostly use the formal migration channel involving visa and passports; and they use the services of agencies and brokers as facilitators of their migration. The common trend for men migrants is rather the desert route, using the services of smugglers. Women constitute the majority of these victimized by traffickers. Even though women and men from the rural areas are increasingly becoming victims of trafficking, human trafficking is more of an urban phenomenon (ILO, 2011).


1.3 Research Questions

  1. What are the major causes of human trafficking?
  2. What are the various consequences of human trafficking on the youths?
  3. What methods should be implemented to tackle the issue?

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate human trafficking from the position of healthcare professionals.


1.4. Objectives of the Study

The study will be conducted to achieve the following specific objectives of this research:

  1. Identify the major cause of human trafficking in Nigeria
  2. To access the impacts of human trafficking on the society
  3. To suggestions to combat human trafficking

1.5 Significance of the Study

  1. It will be essential to bring awareness on the existence and knowledge about the nature of the problem;
  2. It will provide explanations on how to prevent all of the well-known causes of human trafficking;
  3. It will recommend approaches on tackling the issue; and
  4. It will provide suggestions on how make a better source of living rather than resorting to illegal migration.

1.6 Scope and Delimitation of Study

This research focuses on trafficking in human beings across the borders of Nigeria. Although human trafficking may be committed for different purposes, this study focuses only on trafficking for labor purposes. It will describe what causes the youths to be victims of human trafficking, as well as describe its consequences. The research will be based on the position of healthcare workers.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Human Trafficking:

This is the selling of children to another person for sexual or labor purpose.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

Working on this paper was truly a challenge but eventually the following findings were obtained.

  1. The major cause or reason for resorting to human trafficking is the issue of unemployment and absence of viable source of income.
  2. Most of the victims can be viewed as adults, in that they are above 18 years of age.
  3. Majority victims are female.
  4. Majority victims stopped their education at the tenth grade. Some may have passed to twelfth grade but have not progressed after that.
  5. Majority of the victims are either the eldest of their siblings or the only child of their family.
  6. The Victims prefer human trafficking, knowing all of its consequences, because they know at least one person who is successful after having passed through the misery.
  7. There isn’t enough awareness created about the issue.
  8. Returnees have got back on their feet through various trainings provided by the government.
  9. The incidence has not decreased in the past year, no matter how hard the government has tried.

5.2. Conclusions

Human trafficking is the practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country, and then forced to work with no or low payment or on terms which are highly exploitative. The practice is considered to be the trade or commerce in people, which has many features of slavery, and which is illegal in most countries.

This study was conducted for the purpose of exploring and understanding the causes of human trafficking and the multifaceted challenges faced by trafficked persons during the trafficking process, by stressing on the cases of trafficking victims in Nigeria.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were applied to obtain data from the victims at the study site. The study has identified different economic, social and cultural factors as main causes of trafficking. Such factors as poverty, the desire to improve one’s life, lack of opportunity and low payment for domestic work were mentioned by the informants as main causes of trafficking in Nigeria. Added to this, migration policy of countries, promises of steady employment, pressure from the society, success stories told by migrants, low level of education, failure in education, forced marriage and abusive family conditions were also among the socio-cultural factors identified in the study as contributing factors to trafficking.

The study has also sought to explore the trafficking process and the multifaceted problems being faced by the trafficking victims in the process.

Different studies have been conducted in Nigeria in the area of human trafficking. Most of the studies conducted so far were mainly focused on the problems that trafficking victims experience in the destination places while they were at work in a foreign land. These studies explored the expectations, life experiences of trafficked persons, and different problems they faced in the destination country. Yet destination countries are not the only places where trafficking victims experience problems. This study revealed that trafficked persons experience multifaceted problems in the trafficking process, starting from their place of origin till they reach the destination country.


5.3. Recommendation

Primarily depending on the major findings of the study, I recommend the following points for concerned governmental and nongovernmental bodies and organizations, and for researchers who want to research the issue of human trafficking.

There is a need to have a clear and coherent policy and a national action plan on labor migration and trafficking in persons to increase the legal risk associated with trafficking. The policy should take into consideration the gender aspect of labor migration and trafficking in persons. As human trafficking is mostly a transnational phenomenon involving various countries, a national, regional and international cooperation framework needs to be established.
Government and nongovernmental bodies should develop programs that offer livelihood options, including basic education, skills training and literacy, especially for women and other traditionally disadvantaged groups as they are more vulnerable to trafficking.

Developing information campaigns for the general public aimed at promoting awareness of the dangers associated with trafficking. Such campaigns should be informed by an understanding of the complexities surrounding trafficking and of the reasons why individuals may make potentially dangerous migration decisions. The awareness creation campaigns shall ensure that potential migrants, especially women, are properly informed about the risks of migration (exploitation, debt bondage, and health and security issues) as well as avenues available for legal, non-exploitative migration.


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