Sunday Sermon – Human Trafficking
Trafficking in persons particularly women, girls and children, for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour has become a global phenomenon with far reaching implications. It is estimated that around 500,000 women are trafficked from poorer regions of the world to Western Europe alone per year.
Several factors account for the desire of women to look for work in other countries. Among these are women’s unequal rights and access to formal labour, oppressive traditions, women’s restricted abilities to gain power over their own lives in their countries and for want of a better standard of living arising from what is popularly called “feminization of poverty”.
Evidence abounds that a growing number of women who want to search for work abroad are deceived by traffickers into leaving their countries, believing that they will work as dancers or hostesses or they will be placed in other gainful employments but really end up not only performing services such as prostitution, pornography, “escorts” etc. Nevertheless, in most cases they also live under slave like conditions where their fundamental human rights are abused by the profiteer pimp.
For those involved, trafficking, especially in women has become a very lucrative trade. The United Nations estimates that they make more than $7 billion annually from trafficking in human beings.
Trafficking in human beings particularly women and children, is now variously conceived and approached as:
· A moral problem
· A criminal problem
· A migration problem
· A human rights problem
· A public order problem
· A labour problem and
· A public health problem
Trafficking in persons is an international phenomenon, requiring international cooperation to combat the menace. Consequently, available resources are now being mobilized while rehabilitative measures are being put in place at all levels for victims of trafficking. But the truth of the matter is that while trafficking in women especially for sexual exploitation is a recognized international crime that is generating high profits with relatively low forms of risks for traffickers, the devastating effects on the victims and their countries have not been receiving due attention. Today thousands of women and children are being trafficked from developing countries and Central and Eastern Europe to Western Europe and brought into conditions in which their basic human rights are violated. Yet only few cases are reported while convictions of traffickers are rare. Public concern and global awareness have however increased. Thanks to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the United Nations and the Council of Europe, but more need to be done to stop the menace.
While there are evidences that trafficked persons, particularly women, come from almost all over the world, it is also very clear that some regions have more victims than others and some countries suffer more harm than others.
Significantly, Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco in Africa have been identified, with Brazil and Columbia in Latin America, the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and the Philippines and Thailand in South East Asia, as countries which appear to be particularly affected.
Evidence also abounds to prove that there is well established link between certain sources/victims and host/beneficiary countries. The flow is mostly towards the industrialized countries with varying degrees of involvement.
It is clearly understandable that Nigeria is a victim of women trafficking and other forms of trafficking mostly for sexual exploitations including forced labour, servitude and slavery. Some recent developments have also revealed that human trafficking is also undertaking for ritual purposes and organ transplants and others.
The penalties for human trafficking are also abusively low while there are virtually no provisions for rehabilitation and compensation of victims of trafficking. The economic losses to the country whose citizens are trafficked are also not considered; neither are there any provisions for redress of the several injuries associated with citizen’s trafficking. If reparation is not possible for slavery and other inhuman exploitation perpetuated by Europe as the world progress on the Civilization Continuum, there is NOW need for Human Trafficking Host Nations (HTHN) to compensate Human Trafficking Source Nations (HTSN) for obvious reasons stated above.
Similarly, there is therefore an urgent need to tackle this “contemporary manifestations of slavery and organized crime” on a holistic basis, taking into account its diverse dimensions as moral problem, criminal problem, migration problem, human rights problem, public order problem, labour problem and public health problem.