The UN Protocol on Trafficking defines trafficking in humans as “all acts related to recruitment, transport, sale or purchase of individuals through force, fraud or other coercive means, for the purpose of exploitation”
It is estimated that about 12 million people are living in slavery worldwide, and about 700,000 persons are trafficked across various international borders annually. Trafficking in persons is the third most lucrative illegal trade in the world, behind trafficking in illegal arms and hard drugs.
Nigeria is a well-known source country for international human trafficking. Many hundreds of young Nigerian girls are trafficked to Europe and Asia every year, where they are put to work in brothels and strip clubs, or sent out to prostitute themselves in the streets. Internal trafficking also occurs within Nigeria’s borders. Young boys and girls are recruited from poor families in rural areas with a promise of work or education in the city, and are then sold into domestic servitude or forced work on farms or in factories and mines with little or no pay. These victims of trafficking often have to endure physical and psychological abuse and are under continuous threats of physical harm or deportation.
Caritas Nigeria, working with Diocesan Justice, Development and Peace Commissions as well as with other civil society organizations, engages both in prevention of human trafficking as well as the rehabilitation, training and re-integration of victims. Prevention activities involve grassroots public enlightenment campaigns through community religious and social organizations to sensitize families on the dangers of trafficking and raise their awareness of the methodologies adopted by human traffickers. Caritas partners also work with primary and secondary school pupils in areas that have been identified as “hotspots” for traffickers.