By Chris Zumani Zimba
Here are the facts: While human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing crime, the Equality Now fact sheet show tha the sex trafficking industry pulls in an estimated $99 billion each year; According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 54 percent of all trafficking victims in 2014 were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation; According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 54% of all trafficking victims in 2014 were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation; While the majority of those victims were female, according to the UN, males were also reported as trafficked for sexual exploitation between 2012 and 2014 “concentrated in Western and Southern Europe and the Americas.
Many poor women and girls in Africa’s Third World Nigeria are finding themselves as lured and trapped victims into the world’s fastest growing crime and modern day slavery called human trafficking for the same captioned reasons-forced sexual exploitation. While many may think Europe, Asia or Americans are the main business destinations, Mali, one of West African states is proving to be another huge client domicile in the sub region.
According to CNN Africa’s Bukola Adebayo on 22nd January, 2019, Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency says it has received concrete intelligence that around 20,000 Nigerian girls have been forced into prostitution in Mali. According to a fact-finding mission carried out by the agency in collaboration with Malian authorities in December, 2018, many of the girls are working in hotels and nightclubs after being sold to prostitution rings by human traffickers.
Arinze Osakwe of NAPTIP told CNN Africa that most of the girls said they were lured by human traffickers who promised them employment in Malaysia. “The new trend is that they told them they were taking them to Malaysia and they found themselves in Mali. They told them they would be working in five-star restaurants where they would be paid $700 per month,” Osakwe, who was part of one of the NAPTIP research and rescue missions, said.
NAPTIP reported that some of the girls had been sold as sex slaves in gold mining camps in northern parts of Mali. Officials from the agency under Operation Timbuktu rescued 104 Nigerian girls from three brothels in Bamako, Mali’s capital in 2011. “We brought back 104 girls just from three ramshackle brothels, and those were the ones that were even willing to come. They were mostly between the age of 13 and 25, and they had been trapped in the country for many years,” NAPTIP’s Osakwe said.
By definition, human trafficking the action or practice of illegally transporting people either voluntary or involuntary from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labour or sexual exploitation. Around 97% of victims are women, and 77% have been sexually exploited by their traffickers, according to UN sources.
Human trafficking is an evil and unacceptable practice that is outlawed at national, regional and global level especially when the core victims involved are poor girls-children and younger women as the case stand for these Nigerians in question. The victims of human trafficking become sure victims of rape, defilement, child marriages, forced prostitution, physical/mental/verbal abuses and violence as well as vulnerable to HIV and other STIs. But where is ECOWAS or AU for Nigerians female victims in Mali and other parts of this sub regional. Why is this criminality going on before the naked eyes of everyone including the UN? With Boko Haram still inflicting political and human pain from all fronts, Nigeria could be said to be a semi-dysfunctional state and needs the diplomatic, economic and military support of its bilateral and multilateral allies now than before it is too late. Africa’s most populous state is in real trouble and the above horrific story is just of the many ugly ones.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Radio, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:20hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles. Sometimes, he lectures Political Science-Part Time with University of Zambia (UNZA) and University of Lusaka (UNILUS) outside his usual commitments.