The Effect of Population Growth on the Socio-economic Development
Human trafficking is a phenomenon that is currently generating a lot of concern globally, especially in countries like Nigeria, where it is highly prevalent. The generally acceptable definition of human trafficking is that of the use United Nations which defines it as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of threat or the use of force or other means of coercion, of abduction or fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability or 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. Exploitation include at a minimum, prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practice similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs (Palermo Protocol, 200).
Thus, three main elements are at the core of t his definition and they include: the actual act of trafficking including the recruitment transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, associated acts such as the threat or the use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of weakness or vulnerability and exploitation including at a minimum the exploitation for prostitution (or other forms of sexual exploitation ) forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
The vulnerability of prospective victims are exploited in many respects; the victims most of t hem are pre-teems, teenagers and almost female are taken far away from their homelands to cities within their country or across national boundaries and exploited for optimum economic benefits. Many of them are engaged in cheap labor such as domestic servants, hawkers, beggars, prostitutes or put into other forms of servitude akin to slavery. Expectedly, the global outcry generated against this phenomenon is informed by the obvious human degradation which accompanies this racketeering.
The suffering and indignity meted out to trafficked victims in the process of transporting them and at the various detonations, especially those aboard, had become a huge source of embarrassment to Nigeria’s integrity as a nation with responsibility to safeguard the interest of its nationals as well as to states often fingered as affected by this social malaise. Many states in Nigeria are often affected by internal trafficking. Internal trafficking of young girls and children is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on with the trafficking of people from rural communities to major cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Calabar, Warri and Port-Harcourt, predominantly for exploitative domestic work, scavenging, begging and prostitution (Otibor, 2014).
The incidence is a little more precarious in Lagos, the commercial nerve center of Nigeria with a surging population of about 9.1 million. The busy schedules of families who are mainly working class, makes high demand for domestic servants imperative. Who are often sought from Cross River, Akwa Ibom State, Imo and Ebonyi states (Ocibor, 2014.
Women trafficking are best noted for their sexual exploitation which is quite high. It brings high profit and is a low risk trade for those who organize it, but detrimental to victims and non-victims. This trade, which the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan described as an outrage and a worldwide plague is conducted throughout the world with near impunity, in many cases, carries penalties far less severe than drug trafficking. People are said to be snared into trafficking by many means. In some cases, physical force is used. In some other cases, false promises are made regarding job opportunities or marriages in foreign countries to entrap victims (Emena, 2015).
Today, human trafficking involves the movement of victims, usually women and children across borders legally legally or illegally. These victims may be either documented or without documentation as they head into an unknown destination, and in most cases the person being transported is unaware of the consequences thereof. And sometime victims may be oblivious of unintended consequences such as arrests and deportation while in transit to the new destination. Many of the forms of women trafficking involve the movement of people from one to another often unknown to the victim. In many cases, this involves victims being lured by better opportunities in the form of jobs elsewhere (Eka, 2013).
The negative effects of poverty, exacerbated by political instability and mismanagement of the economy, poor cultural practices have had the consequence of human right violations, in the form of an increasing number of persons being forced into bondage by traffickers in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom State has gained notoriety a one of the main sources and transit of human trafficking. It is against this backdrop that this study will be focusing on the socioeconomic effect of human trafficking in Nigeria, using Akwa Ibom State as a case study.
The phenomenon of the human trafficking has been attracting local, national and international attention of world leaders, academics, the mass media, advocacy groups, the clergy and humanity in general. This is against the back drop of the fact that the trafficking of humans has a number of far-reaching socio-economic, health and political consequences. Several factors such as poverty, unemployment, ignorance and unplanned family size have been adduced trafficking has continue to thrive.
From available statistics, we can say that 500,000 women are brought into the United States of America and Europe yearly for sexual and domestic servitude. Of the over 70,000 African victims of human trafficking, Nigerian account for 70 percent of those trafficked to across Europe alone. Human trafficking spread across many states in Nigeria. One of the worst affected states in Nigeria is Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom State is a state endowed by abundant oil resources that generates colossal funds for the state yet poverty, illiteracy and unemployment still persist for traffickers to exploit.
Besides,the state boast of high rate of literacy for a social malaise such as human trafficking to thrive. Okon (2012) observes that Akwa Ibom State is now leading in human trafficking and child labour, pushing Edo State to the second place. Uwah (2009) argues that the trafficking of women in Akwa Ibom State began as an economic arrangement; a simple survival strategy adopted by families desperate a reprieve from biting economic hardships.
While Ita (2011) observes that numerous factors such as poverty, level of ignorance and family size among other things account for why girls and women fall easy prey to the antics of trafficking in Akwa Ibom State. As it is well known, poverty is an inherent and factual reality especially in the Niger Delta. In Nigeria, the World Bank(1995) reported that over 45 cent of the country’s population is said live below the poverty line. Similarly, Collins (1999) observed the reality that in most poor homes parents can barely meet the legitimate needs of their children. He added rather painfully that the financial distress of most poor parents them vulnerable to the deceit trafficking who promise their children juicy and supposedly rewarding jobs only to cajole them into prostitution and forced labor abroad.
Admittedly, the trafficking of women with all its ramifications is tantamount to a debasement of womanhood. Given the dehumanizing treatment which trafficked women receive, the phenomenon of the trafficking of women is beginning to attract attention from several quarters. The concern and attention which the menace of human trafficking has begun to attract stems from the realization that the phenomenon, being a national and international crime, means that no one country or government has the power and the resources to eradicate it all alone. The effects of human trafficking have been realized to be devastating, dehumanizing and uneconomical. It should however be noted that such effects of human trafficking are numerous besides encompassing every facet of the victims, and non-victims lives (Uwah, 2009).
It is in view of these foregoing problems that this study seeks to x-ray the socioeconomic impact of human trafficking in Akwa Ibom State, and Nigeria in general. In doing this, a number of questions are raised.
The following research questions are therefore raised to guide the study:
What are the causes of the trafficking of women in Akwa Ibom State?
Is there a correlation between poverty and women trafficking in Akwa Ibom State?
What is the relationship between unemployment and women trafficking in Akwa Ibim State?
Is there a causal relationship between crime and the trafficking of women in Akwa Ibom State?
What is the impact of literacy on the trafficking of women in Akwa Ibom State?
The main objective of this study is to assess the issue of women trafficking in Nigeria.
While the subsidiary objectives are as follows:
1. To ascertain the phenomenon of human trafficking in Nigeria;
2. To find out the causal factors of human trafficking in Akwa Ibom State;
3. To examine the socioeconomic effects of human trafficking;
4. To evaluate the pattern of human trafficking in Nigeria as well as measures taken to tackle the negative trend in Nigeria;
5. To make useful recommendation drawn from the findings.
The following hypothesis are hereby formulated to guide the study:
H1: There is a significant relationship between poverty and the phenomenon of human trafficking in Akwa Ibom State.
H2: There is a significant relationship between illiteracy and the phenomenon of human woman trafficking in Akwa Ibom State.
Significance of the Study
Human trafficking ranks among the social malaises tarnishing the image of Nigeria so much so thea study of this nature is appropriate. Besides, this study is also significant because it sought to investigate the various ramifications of this social problem that effects not only Akwa Ibom State, but Nigeria as a whole as well as the society in general. More so, research of this nature will help states such as Akwa Ibom, Edo Cross River, Delta, Abia and other states most affected to tackle the reoccurring human trafficking problem.
The issue of human trafficking has been receiving accentuated discourse in various international for a, especially those organize by the United Nations Organisation and some Non-Government Organisation (NGOs). This makes the issue of human trafficking very significant and this study timely, relevant and appropriate. Beside, the issue of human trafficking is one of poverty research areas prescribed by the United Nations.Thus, making this research significant in no small measure.
Furthermore, this study will very useful to such organizations such as the United Nations, International for Migration (IOM). The Congressional Research Service, International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Union, The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), UNICEF and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) and WOTCLEF, as they are all engrossed in the battle to tackle the menace of human trafficking.Just as the study will also be very useful to all the countries, and Policy-makers involved in the anti-human trafficking battle. This study will be useful to related or subsequent studies in this regard as it will through its findings add to existing literatures on this issue.
Scope and Organization of the Study
the scope of this study covers all issues of human trafficking in Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria, in general, as well as all related issues relevant to this study. This study is organized in chapters, precisely five chapters. This is made up of distinct but interrelated chapter, logically linked. Chapter one treats the introduction of the study; chapter two covers the literature review; chapter three treats the methodology; chapter four covers the data presentation and analysis; and chapter five the conclusion of the study.
Human trafficking: This involves the act and attempted act of recruitment and transportation of persons (both male and female) within or across borders.
Women trafficking: This refers to the recruitment and transportation of women across national or international borders either voluntarily or involuntarily, for sexual or domestic purposes. It also includes the purchase, sale, transfer, receipt or harboring of young girls and women through deception for the purpose of subjecting the women and girls to involuntary servitude. In this study, trafficking of women and female trafficking will be used interchangeably.
Women Traffickers: These are organized criminal rings involved in the smuggling (illegal transportation) of women across national borders to regional destinations (e.g. Europe and Italy). They are commonly referred to as “Trolley”, “ItaIo” “Sponsors”, “Madame” and “Boss”, etc.
Trafficked persons: These are persons, male and female, recruited and transported within or across national borders for the purpose of sexual or domestic services.
Internal trafficking: This is also referred to a domestic trafficking. It involves the recruitment and transportation of persons within the borders of a country, either from rural to urban areas or from one State to another, for purposes of sex work, child labor, or domestic services.
External trafficking (Cross-border trafficking): External trafficking is also referred to as “international trafficking” and involves the movement of people across national, continental and international borders for the purpose of sex work, child labour and domestic service in exchange for monetary reward (Akor, 2007:7-8).
Victims: Persons who suffered for at tacked or are injured or killed as a result of a crime, disease or actions of other people.
Non-Victims: Those who do not directly suffered from attacks or are injured or killed as a result of a crime, diseases or actions of other people.
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