For years, human trafficking has continued to thrive in shadow and in the silence of others. The future of young people have been frustrated, their dreams shattered, and potentials caged because of human trafficking. The U.S Department of States estimates that 27 million women, girls, boys, and men are currently victims of human trafficking globally. From my findings, the number of victims of human trafficking is more than the population of Ghana, Mozambique, Australia, Netherlands, North Korea or Zambia. Recently, I read the 2016 the 2016 Global Slavery Index Report which showed that there are 875, 500 Nigerians who are victims of human trafficking overtime.
According to United Nations, each year $32 billion is generated from the exploitation of victims of human trafficking. This amount is more than the yearly budget of Nigeria, Ghana, or Cameroun. Also, research shows that 80 percent of the victims of human trafficking are women and girls which are young people between the age of 6 and 24.
Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments for the purpose of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, and other forms of exploitations and abuses.
Some of the factors that make young people vulnerable to human trafficking include:
- Family crisis or maltreatment at home
- Community crisis
- Porous border
Victims of human trafficking are used for:
- Sexual exploitation: The victims, especially women and girls are used for commercial sex works, domestic sex, pornographic production, bestiality, etc
- Labor exploitation: The victims, especially men and boys are used for child labour, forced labour, domestic works, etc.
- Organ harvesting: In most cases, their organs such as kidney, heart, and lungs are removed and sold in the black market. This is due to high demand of kidney and other organs for transplants.
- Forced marriage: Girls under the age of 18 years or perhaps above can be trafficked and forced to marry. This is similar to what happened to most of the Chibok girls.
- Baby factory: Young women can be trafficked and impregnated to produce babies which are often sold to unknown people. This is similar to what happened in some part of south eastern states where there are baby factories.
- Rituals: victims of human trafficking can be used for ritual purposes.
According to Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery, more than 30, 000 victims of human trafficking die every year as a result of abuse, hunger, disease, torture, etc.
Martin Luther King (Jnr) made it clear when he said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”. Human trafficking matters and should be a concern to everyone. There is an urgent need for more young people to be in the forefront of combating human trafficking, and no one needs to wait until he is directly affected before speaking out against this evil. William Wilberforce said, “Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me”.
We can’t pretend as if human trafficking doesn’t exist. We can’t turn our back to victims. We can’t overlook or neglect the vulnerable ones. We have to take action, and nothing but action. Most importantly young people need to actively get involved in combating human trafficking, because it is weapon against their future.
If you don’t do something now, something worst will happen, and more people will become victims to human trafficking. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking; it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, from rural or urban area, big or small, male or female, etc.
You have to start now to take action: Some of the actions you can take against human trafficking include:
- Create: There are many things you can create to promote the fight against human trafficking.
- Create an anti-human trafficking mobile application that will help to keep young people safe online from traffickers.
- Create/draw an art work to portray human trafficking
- Create/produce a song, poem, story, movie, or documentary about human trafficking.
- Write a fiction about human trafficking.
- Organize: You can organize a debate, quiz, dance, or song competition to promote the fight against human trafficking. You can also organize a workshop/seminar to sensitize people on human trafficking
- Social media action: You can do a social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc) campaign against human trafficking. It is also important to do a daily or weekly facebook/twitter post about human trafficking.
- Observe and report: There are human trafficking incidences around your environment you can observe and report to law enforcement agents, NAPTIP or NGO’s. If you see something say something.
- Volunteer: Volunteer with organizations involved in combating human trafficking. Volunteerism is a great way of getting involved in combating human trafficking. Volunteerism is giving your services, resources, energy, talents, skills, experiences, etc to a cause you are passionate about without expecting money in return. Devatop Centre for Africa Development has Board of Volunteers where young people are engaged in eliminating trafficking in persons and other related matters.
- Donate: Donate materials or finances as low as $5 monthly to support the fight against human trafficking.
- Support Vulnerable People: There are millions of people who are vulnerable to human trafficking as a result of insurgency, community crisis, unemployment, poverty, discrimination, etc. Most of these vulnerable people can be found in Internally Displaced Person’s Camp, Refugee camps, Streets, Orphanage homes, rural areas, etc. You can support or empower them with: food, shelter, scholarships, educational materials, employment, skill acquisition, etc
- Encourage Survivors: Survivors of human trafficking need you to be there for them. You can visit different shelters operated by National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons or other NGOs, and encourage them with materials/resources, or provide employment opportunities for them. You can help to equip them with skills.