Influence of Schooling, Gender and Location on Adolescents’ Knowledge of and Attitude Towards Child Trafficking in Edo State
Background to the Study
Child trafficking has become an issue of perennial concern to all who uphold human dignity as sacred. The high rate of its occurrence among adolescents has made it an issue of global concern. Child trafficking means obtaining a child’s consent/approval deceitfully or forcefully or normally to be recruited, harboured and transferred from the child’s domicile to another place to be exploited by another (trafficker) in prostitution, labour or other servitude of any kind and illegal business.
Child trafficking is globally considered as an illegal trade. This is because the adolescents who are victims of trafficking are used for commercial sex exploitation (modern day reproductive slavery or modern-day form of sex slavery) and forced labour (Renton, 2001; Dottridge, 2004; Firoze, 2006; Gbadamosi, 2006). Van (2006) revealed that increased demand for cheap labour and sex, aided by restrictions on legal migration possibilities, have opened a niche for traffickers. These have aided the growth of human trafficking, especially as occasioned by the current market forces that support such industry.
Trafficking of human beings in Nigeria has become increasingly worrisome as a result of the shocking dimensions it has assumed. Although human trafficking is neither alien nor new in Nigeria, what is striking is the transnational character and the height the practice seems to have reached in recent times. Nigeria seems to have become overwhelmingly notorious for human trafficking in Africa. Nigeria is known as a source, transit and destination country for child trafficking, as gathered from the situation assessment of child trafficking in Southern Nigeria by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other related Matters (NAPTIP) and UNICEF (2004), which revealed that over 56% of repatriated victims of trans-national trafficking in Nigeria were children who were engaged mainly in prostitution, domestic labour (21%) forced labour (15%) and entertainment (8%). Within Nigeria, trafficking of children was also reported; for forced labour (32%), domestic labour (31%), prostitution (30%) and entertainment (7%). Evidence available indicates the purpose of trafficking to includes sexual exploitation, begging, underpaid and exploited forced labour in the agricultural, manufacturing and construction industries, domestic service and organ harvesting (United Nations, 2000).
Human trafficking, as a business in the world today, is one that seems to be very lucrative hence it has attracted the attention of many adolescents. But it is by no means the fastest lucrative illegal businesses in the world as Haken (2011) revealed child trafficking as second only to drug trafficking, another illegal business in the world today. The lucrative nature of child trafficking was further buttressed by the instances given by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2004) that the total revenue that was accruing annually from trafficking in persons was estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion. It further revealed that 600, 000 – 800, 000 women and children are trafficked annually across international borders. The vast majority of children trafficked under 18 years are girls while boys account for only 2% of child trafficking cases. Most of these girls are often trafficked for sex work in Europe and the Middle East (UNESCO, 2005).
Since the beginning of the 1990s, human trafficking has become an issue at the United Nations. Efforts then were not solely geared towards combating trafficking in girls; rather it was a mission to control the spread of HIV/AIDS. This is supported by Van (2006) who declared clearly that the two fundamental reasons for the revival of the fight against trafficking then were the strong feminist movement at that time as well as the growing concern over HIV/AIDS. By the end of the 1990s, there was a paradigm shift from the trafficking of the female folk to trafficking of both males and females. Therefore, in order to curb the trend, the European Parliament went beyond the traditional female oriented concept of human trafficking and adopted the term trafficking in human persons (Van, 2006).
Child trafficking is in every sense of the word comparable to slave trade. However, unlike slave trade that trafficked adults, this new form of slavery focuses on children, showing that while the former was abhorrent, the latter is abominable and as such is seen and held as human violation of children’s right. These rights on global acceptance concur with International Human Rights Treaties that have been adopted since 1956 under the UN Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, Slave Trading and Institutions and Practices similar to Slavery. Despite the ratification of these treaties, it is sad to know that many Nigerian youths die while trying to migrate illegally to Spain, Italy, and other European countries.
Global consciousness and worry have brought to light the growing phenomenon of child trafficking, the main form of trafficking in human persons. An estimate of all trafficked persons globally shows that 35 percent of them are children who are below eighteen years old (Osita, 2003). Despite existing local, national and international laws enacted to prevent and stop human trafficking, the crime seems to have remained unchecked; obviously because the practice appears to have defiled all the efforts of the relevant law enforcement agencies (United Nation Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), 2006b).
Arising from the growing incidents of child trafficking, especially in Nigeria, one begins to wonder what could be responsible for the increased rate and trend in child trafficking. The researcher examined the influence of schooling, gender and location on adolescents’ knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking. The incidence of child trafficking has striking dimensions since both adolescents’ in-school (Juveniles or teenagers currently attending schools) and out-of-school (Juveniles or teenagers currently not attending schools currently) are involved. There is a popular notion that the victims of child trafficking appear to be adolescents who are out-of-school which shows that out-of-school adolescents seems to be more vulnerable to trafficking than those in school. The fact that they are not in school makes it easier for them to be coerced or deceived by their traffickers with promises of better life in Europe and big cities. Although incidents of trafficking in Edo State involve both in-school and out-of-school adolescents, yet the out-of-school adolescents seem to be more. This study succinctly examined the school status of adolescents to child trafficking in order to ascertain the influence on their knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking.
Traffickers’ focus is on how to capture beautiful and attractive young female adolescents for their business. One wonders how they get their prey so easily. These adolescents believe, from evidence of victims of trafficking, that once one leaves this country for overseas, especially Europe, that person is already wealthy. This was the case of the first sets of the victims of trafficking who were very successful and returned to their State of origin (Edo) to show off their wealth (Aghatise, 2002). However, there is a new scandalous trend of trafficking in Edo State which no longer involves only females but male adolescents. In recent times, it has been noticed that only girls internally trafficked are further trafficked externally to European countries as reported by the deported girls themselves. (NAPTIP, 2005). In a bid to understand gender in the network of trafficking; this refers to male and female with cultural values, roles and inclinations. The rate of trafficking amongst male and female adolescents’ is not clear as some areas are dominated by male adolescents while in some females are predominant. The researcher therefore investigated the influence of gender on adolescents’ knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking in other to determine those more prone to become trafficked.
Closely related to the factor of gender as a likely variable that influences child trafficking is location of the would-be adolescent victim. Adolescents domicile has an important role to play in trafficking trade. Oftentimes, adolescents are trafficked from rural areas into urban cities or across border. Again, the location of adolescents seems to influence their recruitment into trafficking especially as poor adolescents sometimes even volunteer themselves for trafficking due to personal reasons. Unfortunately, some of the adolescents see trafficking as a form of assistance by benefactors who mean “well” for them. The recruitment of adolescents in rural areas is seen to be more rampant than in the urban areas due to the decline of rural communal life, traditional value system, extended family setting, occasioned by rapid urbanization, education, globalization and harsh economic conditions seem to have made rural adolescents more vulnerable to trafficking than their urban counterparts. People are now concerned mainly with their nuclear families without having consideration for the extended family and larger society. This has led to the collapse of extended family system and community form of solidarity. The collapse of the protective environment seems to have worsened the situation of vulnerable adolescents, especially that of female adolescents in the rural areas. It is against this backdrop that the researcher examined how location influences adolescents’ knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking.
Adolescents’ attitude towards child trafficking centres on their mindset especially to the extent they are disposed either positively or negatively based on the knowledge they have. There are many young people in Nigeria with some level of education, but have no jobs, they believe that they would get jobs outside Nigerian shores and this make them very vulnerable to the manipulation of the traffickers who rely heavily on their unfortunate conditions (NAPTIP, 2005). Most of the trafficked children are victims of traffickers because they want to go abroad to search for better employment opportunities. This has led to the craze, especially among girls, to opt for traveling abroad through sponsors instead of employing legitimate means. It is on this premise that the researcher investigated the influence of schooling, gender and location on the knowledge of and attitude of child trafficking to ascertain the measure of influence the above variables has on adolescents’ knowledge of and attitudes towards child trafficking.
Statement of the Problem
Child trafficking is a global menace. Trafficking in children is the foremost human rights violation in the world today, Child trafficking often leads to the violation of the rights of a child and child abuse such as abandonment of school and broken homes as well as making them prone to contacting incurable diseases such as “HIV”, emotional and psychological trauma, violence and are made to work under dangerous working conditions. Even problems have erupted for young girls who refused to be lured into trafficking by family members tagging them as enemies of progress. This is because children have been found to be vulnerable and helpless. Some key factors that facilitate trafficking include poverty, female gender, lack of policy and enforcement, age, migration, displacement and conflict, ethnicity, culture, ignorance of trafficking methods which facilitate or mitigate adolescents’ vulnerability to child trafficking.
In addressing vulnerability of children towards child trafficking, several International Regulations have been laid down to help in combating the ugly trade of trafficking in children as well as other human beings. Nigeria as a nation has ratified some of these International Instruments. In addition, Nigeria has enacted different laws to combat human trafficking. Among these are the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), Labour Act (1974), Child Rights Act (2003), National Plan of Action for Combating Child labour (2000), Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcements and Administration (Amendment) Act (2003), Criminal Code (As applicable in the Southern States of Nigeria) (1990), Penal Code (As applicable in the Northern States of Nigeria) (1963) and Immigration Act (1990). The Edo State Government has also passed a law making trafficking in women a punishable offence known as the Anti Trafficking Law (2002).
Despite these laws and efforts by government and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOS), there appears to be a rising tide in the ugly trend of trafficking, especially in children (Global Alliance against Trafficking in Women, 2001). In fact the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that 75% of trafficking victims are women and children. Female adult make up 55% to 60% of all trafficked victims globally, followed by girls at 17%. Alarmingly, the UNODC’s 2007–2010 estimates reveal a rise in the total percentage of child victims from 20% to 27% (UNODC, 2012).
Every now and then incidents of repatriated Nigerians, who illegally migrated to countries in Europe, are reported in the mass media. Most often, those repatriated are adolescent girls, who narrate different stories of how they were trafficked to Europe. Even within Nigeria, especially in recent times, illegal baby manufacturing industries in the big cities where adolescent girls are illegally kept for sexual exploitation are being uncovered by law enforcement agents and other security agencies. Many of the girls in these sexual factories are victims of child trafficking.
Within Nigeria, children are trafficked due to the great demand for cheap labour in all spheres of life in urban cities, ranging from domestic servitude, hawking, begging and employment as bus conductors and street traders. These children are also employed in cottage industries, brass melting, stone digging, scavenging and even in agricultural works (UNESCO, 2005). Across the border of Nigeria, trafficked Nigerian children are purely for prostitution. This is why in most cases girls are mostly sought after in the trafficking business. It is sad that despite efforts by government and other stakeholders to stop this illegal business, trafficking in children continues to thrive in Nigeria, assuming new trends and dimensions. It is against this backdrop that the researcher investigated the influence of schooling, gender, location on adolescents’ knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking in Edo State.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of schooling, gender and location on adolescents’ knowledge and attitude towards child trafficking in Edo State. Specially, the study shall:
1. Determine knowledge of child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
2. Ascertain attitude towards child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
3. Establish the influence of gender on knowledge of child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
4. Determine the influence of location on knowledge of child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
5. Find out the influence of schooling on knowledge of child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
6. Investigate the influence of gender on attitude towards child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
7. Establish the influence of location on attitude towards child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
8. Ascertain the influence of schooling on attitude towards child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State.
To guide this study, the following research questions have been raised by the researcher to investigate the influence of the variables of schooling, gender and location on adolescents’ knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking:
1. What is the level of knowledge of child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State?
2. What are the attitudes towards child trafficking among adolescents in Edo State?
3. What is the difference in the level of knowledge of child trafficking between in-school adolescents and out-of-school adolescents in Edo State?
4. What is the difference in the level of knowledge of child trafficking between adolescents in urban and rural areas of Edo state?
5. What is the difference in the level of knowledge of child trafficking between male and female adolescents in Edo State?
6. What is the difference in attitude towards child trafficking between in-school and out-school adolescents in Edo State?
7. What is the difference in attitude towards child trafficking between adolescents in urban and adolescents in rural area of Edo State?
8. What is the difference in attitude towards child trafficking between male and female adolescents in Edo State?
The following hypotheses were tested in this study at 0.05 level of Significance:
1. There is no significant difference in the knowledge of child trafficking between in-school adolescents and out-of school adolescents in Edo State.
2. There is no significant difference in the knowledge of child trafficking between adolescents in rural areas and those in urban areas in Edo State.
3. There is no significant difference in the knowledge of child trafficking between male and female adolescents in Edo State.
4. There is no significant difference in attitude towards child trafficking between in- school adolescents and out-of-school adolescents in Edo State.
5. There is no significant difference in attitude towards child trafficking between adolescents in rural areas and those in urban areas in Edo State.
6. There is no significant difference in attitude towards child trafficking between male and female adolescents in Edo State.
Significance of the Study
The findings of the study in practical terms will be a working document and a guide to school counsellors, educational administrators, policy makers, parents, owners of training institutions and all stakeholders both in the educational and non-educational sector. These will help to checkmate the vulnerability of adolescents to trafficking in Nigeria.
School counsellors will be equipped based on the findings of the study to formulate, strategize and implement relevant guiding principles and counselling techniques that will help eliminate incidence of child trafficking among secondary school students in Nigeria as a result of the assertiveness of the adolescents’ knowledge and attitudinal disposition towards child trafficking in Edo State. The findings of the study will make counsellors establish private counselling centres in their community so as to attend to out-of-school adolescents. In other words these centres will be located outside school environment and for adolescents not attending school where trafficking issues will be of foremost priority or concern.
Furthermore, the study unfolded schooling, gender, location as variables that influence adolescents’ knowledge and attitude towards child trafficking which make young people sometimes susceptible to either be coerced, deceived or volunteer themselves for trafficking business, knowing the adolescents’ knowledge and attitude towards child trafficking will empower administrators formulate policies or put in place machinery that will help to reduce the problem to its barest minimum in Nigeria.
The findings will better equip policy makers in the educational sector to formulate and incorporate formidable policies in the curriculum of learning at all levels to create more awareness on the meaning and consequences of child trafficking on adolescents’. Such policies include enlightenment campaigns on assembly ground.
Again, the findings of this study will prompt government to establish outreach counselling centres (Educational Counselling Centre) for out-of-school adolescents where they could be taught and counselled on how they could resist trafficking.
The findings of this study shall explicitly expose younger people’s knowledge and attitude towards the business of trafficking. Unraveling these will enable government, school heads/teachers, students and parents/guardians, and all stakeholders in child’s welfare to prevent trafficking in children to its barest minimum in Nigeria.
The implementation of the findings of this study shall benefit all stakeholders especially in the educational sector such as school counsellors in knowing how better to help students in school which will eventually influence other children out-of-school through their peer group associations and wherever they find themselves in the nearest future as the knowledge gained takes them through all facet of their lives and makes them agents of change.
Scope of the Study
This Study is designed to investigate the influence of schooling, gender and location on adolescents’ knowledge of and attitude towards child trafficking in Edo State. It examined child trafficking in all its ramifications (concept, dimension purpose, consequences). It must be noted that child fostering/apprenticeship and smuggling of migrants are not within the scope of this study. The different variables of this study are limited to schooling, gender and location as they affect the knowledge and attitude of adolescents towards child trafficking.
This study did not include junior secondary school students in Edo State because they might not be so equipped with issues under study. The study focused on senior secondary school students and their out-of-school counterparts that fall within late adolescence. For the purpose of this study, the age limit is between 13-18 years for adolescents.
The researcher believed that out-of-school adolescents in Edo State can read and write as result of the free basic educational scheme available up to primary school level all over the country. This assumption was correct except two respondents who could not to read and write.
Operational Definition of Terms
Adolescent: A teenager being between the ages of thirteen and eighteen years.
Attitude: A complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values and dispositions to act in certain ways.
Child Trafficking: Obtaining child’s consent/approval deceitfully or forcefully or normally to be recruited, harboured and transferred from the child’s domicile to another place to be exploited by another (trafficker) in prostitution or other servitude of any kind and illegal business.
Get–Rich–Quick–Syndrome: Short cut to wealth.
In-school Adolescents: Juvenile persons (teenagers) who do attend school currently.
Knowledge: The psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning (degree of awareness).
Location: Urban and rural (geographical areas).
Out-of-school Adolescents: Juvenile persons (teenagers) who do not attend school currently.
Rural: An area outside of the Local Government Headquarters.
Urban: Local Government Headquarter (A geographical area constituting a city).
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