Trafficking of children is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation includes forcing children into prostitution, or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs.
According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of the 6th edition, child is a young human being who is not yet an adult. It also defines trafficking as an act of buying and selling things illegally. So, child trafficking is an inhuman act where children are being used unjustly as objects of business transaction. Boys and girls are involved but girls are mostly involved as victims.
source: child trafficking in Nigeria
Lagos state is a major destination for trafficked children from every hook and corner of Nigeria. They are brought in with a promise(to their parents) that their child(he/she) will be taken care of, put in school or trained as an apprentice in a skill or two. The agreement entails a fee payable to the child’s parents on a monthly/quarterly basis back home. When the child gets to Lagos, he or she is sold off as a house-help, prostitute, security guard, bus-conductor, road-side hawker etc., to a third, fourth, fifth party for an agreed length of time. The parents of the child are soon left in the dark with no information about the exact whereabouts of their child, and what he/she is engaged in.
The Federal Government has several times thrown its weight here and there to combat the nuisance. Whether the previously arrested perpetrators are still in jail or whether they have bailed themselves out and gone abroad for medical checkup, we still don’t know. I strongly believe that a concrete state-by-state plan and strategy to secure its own border is what Lagos needs to put an end to child trafficking and labor.
Going around Lagos brings one in contact with the harsh realities of the life some people, most especially children are enduring. Some things I see just make me wish I had the power to go to the governor’s lodge, pull him out of his seat and bring him to the scene of hardship asking: sir, can you see this?
just a little diversion:
Usually, its until things go from bad to worse, and to hell and back before our leaders know what is happening:
I and a friend were discussing sometime ago about the quality of roads in Lagos state. I remember myself replying ‘it’s only God that can deliver us’, after he explained:
“The reason why many roads are neglected and not repaired is because no one has died on the road.
1) See, when a crack on the highway becomes a hole, nothing happens.
2) When the hole widens and becomes a pot-hole, still nothing will happen.
3) The pot-hole then becomes a gutter and people begin to fall inside especially when it rains and everywhere is flooded. At this point, agberos and arial boys will carry a plank and block the hole. They’ll begin collecting 20-Naira for people to cross from one side to another when everywhere gets flooded.
The day that a Molue driver looses control of the steering as he tries avoiding this gutter, and his Molue falls and turns upside down, killing its passengers and people standing by is when the report of the hole gets to the governors table. Very early next morning, the contract is awarded to a construction company and a ‘repair in progress’ signboard is placed somewhere near the gutter. The funny thing is that only this particular gutter will be filled/repaired even if there are other up-coming pot-holes on the same highway.”
As much as Mr. Governor is not omnipresent or omniscient in nature, I believe his advisers and those directly working with him could do better for the state by acting as watch-dogs and bringing many things to his immediate attention: example: ‘children used as bus-conductors’ – in this discourse. Although the child-bus-conductor phenomenon is not new, perpetrators are still doing their thing.
- When a child who should be on the way to school on Monday morning is seen at a bus-stop calling out for passengers for his Ikeja / Ojota / wherever bound bus, nobody (civilian, civil-servant, police/army officer etc.,) sees anything wrong. We all enter the bus and wait for it to fill up.
- When the bus fills up and the child endangers his future by hanging on the door of the bus, begins collecting money and calling out bus-stop names, we pay our fare and collect our change, not thinking that something is absolutely wrong.
No one sees anything wrong with the obvious:
- Bus driver is a man who looks like someone who has a wife and children at home. He and his child-conductor have no physical resemblance, so definitely daddy and his son are not ‘working’ together.
- bus driver looks like someone who had a good rest last-night while the child-conductor is looking sick, and obviously hasn’t taken a bath in the past 3-days. The stench oozing from him drives us to position our noses towards the bus’ window, while we quickly look for a handkerchief. We pay our fare and find our own level once we get off the bus. We live in Lagos state.
p.s: im trying out this new pagination feature on WP. This post continues on Page2: