The United Nations Children Emergency Fund believes Children and women are the most trafficked demographic strata of the people in Africa and Nigeria in particular. Children are recruited with promises of well-paid jobs in urban centres within and abroad, the country realising too late that they have been lured into a debt bond.
Though there is no realistic estimate of the number of children trafficked internally and externally but there are established causes of trafficking in Nigeria which include poverty, desperation to escape violence, corruption, unemployment, illiteracy and ignorance.
Most external child trafficking in Nigeria happens in countries in ECOWAS and this is as a result of the free entry and exit included in the ECOWAS Charter and adherence from member state like Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Benin, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso and The Gambia.
In relations to prostitution and cross continent trafficking, according to UNESCO, Nigeria was claimed to be one of the leading African countries in human trafficking with cross-border and internal trafficking. The girl child is the most vulnerable to human trafficking as they are being exploited for cheap labour and prostitution as an opportunity to help them out of poverty.
According to Wikipedia Nigerian human trafficking occurs within the Nigerian borders, in neighbouring countries and in many European countries because they are able to stop women and children within this industry.
According to some recent research, Italy has the largest population of Nigerians victimised to trafficking. The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently estimated that over 12 million Nigerian Children especially in Edo state are engaged in Child labour.
Child trafficking is considered to be modern day slavery where many children and women are forcefully or fraudulently recruited, transported and harboured for sexual or labour exploitation. The victims of child trafficking are usually made to provide sex under threat and without consent.
Government has made efforts to stop this growing menace that happens to be the third fastest growing criminal activity in the world but their mode of operations, always seem to elude the scope of the law.
Nigeria’s 2003 Child Rights Act also criminalises child trafficking though currently only 23 of the 36 states have enacted the law and lesser amount of them have agencies that fight against this menace. Nigeria’s law places the children rights under the State government purview therefore the Child Rights Act must be adopted by individual state legislatures to be fully implemented. Perhaps if the Federal Government puts this issue under her purview and control this growing menace, it will be pegged because as of today, no much effort has been taken by the government collectively to tackle this challenge.