Child Trafficking is a global problem affecting large numbers of children. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year.
There is a demand for trafficked children as cheap labour or for sexual exploitation. Children and their families are often unaware of the dangers of trafficking, believing that better employment and lives lie in other countries.
Child trafficking is lucrative and linked with criminal activity and corruption. It is often hidden and hard to address. Trafficking always violates the child’s right to grow up in a family environment. In addition, children who have been trafficked face a range of dangers, including violence and sexual abuse. Trafficked children are even arrested and detained as illegal aliens
UNICEF estimates that Large numbers of children are being trafficked in West and Central Africa, mainly for domestic work but also for sexual exploitation and to work in shops or on farms. Nearly 90 per cent of these trafficked domestic workers are girls.
Children from Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana are trafficked to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Gabon. Children are trafficked both in and out of Benin and Nigeria. Some children are sent as far away as the Middle East and Europe.
Recent instances of child trafficking in Nigeria:
“A commercial bus conveying no fewer than 16 children suspected to be victims of child trafficking has been intercepted by the police in Ebonyi State along Abakaliki-Enugu expressway. The commercial bus with registration number XA 746 LCA conveying the children between the ages of 14 and 17, suspected to be heading to Lagos was intercepted by policemen on stop and search exercise.
Daily Sun gathered that the children were recruited from different parts of Izzi council area by the suspected trafficker, who assembled them at Iziogo motor park in Izzi Local Government Area for onward movement to Ilaje in Lagos and other parts of the state.
The children, comprising 14 boys and two girls were said to have been recruited for menial jobs like house helps, hawkers, sales girls as well as serving in restaurants and hotels.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Sylvester Igbo, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who confirmed the incident said: “On July 30, a team of policemen from Ishielu division intercepted a Toyota Hiace Bus with registration number XA 746 LCA driven by one Mr. Sunday aged 39 conveying 16 teenagers comprising two girls and 14 boys to Ilaje village in Lagos State and suspected human trafficking. But investigation is in progress.”
He said on interrogation of the bus driver, he revealed that the first bus loaded with similar children had gone to Lagos, saying his vehicle was the second bus to Lagos that day and denied knowledge of the purpose for which they were going to Lagos.
A source at the park told our correspondent that under-age children were always transported to Lagos daily, lamenting that the children include school dropouts and those that had not gone to school at all. He said their ‘boss’ claimed to be helping their poor parents by sending them to Lagos for greener pastures.
“Most of the children don’t even know what they are going to Lagos to do but are desperate to go to Lagos to work and that includes any type of job. Some children, who wanted to travel to Lagos and had no money for transport fare will seize the opportunity, having seen a sponsor. Some of their parents are in support of their trip while some children ran away from home to join the sponsor to the park,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the PPRO stated that two suspects were arrested for stealing and raping of their victim on August 3, 2013 at Omega Echara in Ikwo East Development Centre.” Daily Sun
The question now is: how do we protect our children in this type of harsh environment?
To be continued!
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