Recently, the issue of slave trade in Libya and other African countries made headlines especially as it involved some Nigerian migrants who were allegedly sold into slave trade in Libya by their fellow Nigerians. This generated public and international outcry with many individuals condemning the inhumane act. However, in the rush to uncover international kidnapping and smuggling rings, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has by and large ignored that there is a smaller but more pervasive kind of trafficking and slavery going on within our states, involving children and ‘ordinary’ Nigerians. Rural-Urban trafficking has always existed but now more than ever, it needs to addressed decisively as soon as possible. NAPTIP has focused on trafficking of Nigerians outside the country by unscrupulous individuals at the expense of other more pervasive strains.
In several homes in Nigeria, it is common to find underage girls within the age range of 10-15 serving as house helps. These individuals are often treated as adults and expected to perform physical and emotional tasks that would drain much older people. They are assigned unforgiving workloads, they do house chores, cook, run errands and most times baby sit.
Today it has taken a new dimension, as Nigerian families are beginning to pay traffickers to ‘import’ maids into Nigeria from neighbouring countries like Togo, Cameroon, Benin Republic, Ghana, etc. A visit to shopping malls in Lagos will provide a quick glance on how some of these maids are treated. They strut around their affluent “owners” carrying bags, pushing trolleys and catering for babies as the case may be.
Majority of these girls are brought into Nigeria for between fifty to eighty thousand naira by their traffickers while they earn a paltry sum as low as N10,000 per month.
These maids are trafficked into the country by Nigerians. NAPTIP is hereby urged to beam its searchlight within to nip in the bud the cartel responsible for such acts.