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Purpose for Human Trafficking

  1. Sex trafficking:   Sex trafficking is the recruitment, habouring or movement of people especially women, girls and children with force, deception or fake promise for the purpose of sexual slavery, sex services or other forms of sexual exploitation.


What Victims of Sex Trafficking Are Used For

Women and young girls are sold to traffickers, locked up in rooms or brothels for weeks or months, drugged, terrorized, and raped repeatedly until they become more loyal to their traffickers. The victims of sex trafficking are used for prostitution and escort services, pornography, stripping and exotic dancing, massage palours, sexual services publicized on the internet or in newspaper, restaurants, bars, etc. The trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation can be in different forms, which include:

a.  Forced prostitution: This involves the use of force, coercion and deception on victims to engage in commercial sex, to make money for the madam/pimp.

b.  Child prostitution: The prostitution of children is a form of commercial sexual exploitation of children in which a child performs the services of prostitute, usually for the financial benefit of an adult.

c.  Child pornography or forced pornography: Child pornography, sometimes called ‘child abuse images’, refers to images or films depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts which are photographed in the production of child pornography. There are numerous websites advertising for prostitution. Many of these sites involve young girls victimized by sex trafficking. Many of the pictures are altered to give the impression of older girls engaged in the activity freely and voluntarily.

d. Domestic Sexual Slavery/Exploitation: This involves the habouring of a victim in a place where she gives sexual services to her trafficker or any person, even if there is no financial benefit to the trafficker.


Victims trafficked into prostitution and pornography are usually forced into the most exploitative forms of commercial sex operations. Sex trafficking operations can be found in highly-visible venues such as street, as well as more underground systems such as closed-brothels that operate out of residential homes. Sex trafficking also takes place in a variety of public and private locations such as massage parlors, spas, strip clubs and other fronts for prostitution. Victims may start off dancing or stripping in clubs and then be coerced into situations of prostitution and pornography.

Methods and tactics traffickers use to recruit their victims

Traffickers target their victims on the internet, including social media platform,  on the telephone, through friends who have already been victimized, through relatives, at the mall/market and even in after-school programs where their families believe they are safe.


Often times they convince victims that they love them and manipulate that false love to sell the victims’ bodies for sex. Threats of violence keep victims under the control of the trafficker and in constant fear, preventing their escape.

Some of the common patterns for luring victims into situations of sex trafficking include:

  • A promise of a good job, better, education, or better lifestyle in another country
  • A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
  • Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, relatives, employers, and boyfriends.
  • Being kidnapped by traffickers
  • Promise of modeling opportunities and other related activities.


2. Child labour:  Child labour refer to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful.

Child labour includes: children engaged in agricultural labour, in mining, in manufacturing, in domestic service, construction, scavenging and begging on the streets. These children typically work long hours and for little or no pay.


3. Forced labour: Forced labour refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threat of denunciation to immigration authorities. It can also be seen as a situation where a person is not free to leave his or her work because of threats, debts, or other forms of physical or psychological coercion. (International Labour Organization)


4. Bonded labour: Bonded labour, also known as debt bondage, is a form of human trafficking that involves the trafficker recruiting the victims as a way to pay off debt. A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or expenses made on his/her head. The person is forced into working for very little or no pay.


Debt bondage occurs when a person is forced to work to pay off a debt. They are tricked into working for little or no pay, with no control over their debt.


Often times, bonded children are delivered by their parents in repayment of a loan or other favours given in advance. The children work like slaves, never knowing when their debt will finish


5. Organ removal (organ trafficking/harvesting)

Organ trafficking is the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of living or deceased persons  by the use of force, threat, abduction, of fraud, of deception, coercion, fake promises, and disguise to:

  1. Request for a person’s organ.
  2. Harvest the organ.
  3. Make people donate their organ.

either for financial gain or any other reason. The organs can be kidney, liver, heart, or any other parts of the body.

Organ trafficking is on the rise, as transplant surgeries increase around the globe. It is real and thriving. It is obvious that there are far more people in the world in need of a new organ than there are organs available. There are more than 150, 000 patients waiting for organ transplant, yearly, though not all see available organ. Most of these patients are desperate to get new organs and save their lives.


According to the UN Gift Hub, organ trafficking falls into three categories:

  • Traffickers who trick the victim into giving up an organ for no cost;
  • Those who convince victims to sell their organs, but who do not pay or who pay less than they agreed to pay;
  • Doctors who treat people for ailments which may or may not exist and remove the organs without the victim’s knowledge.

According to the World Health Organization, around one in ten organ transplants involve a trafficked human organ, which amounts to around 10,000 each year. Kidneys are the most commonly traded organ.


6. Trafficking for Rituals:  Trafficking for rituals involves the removal of body parts including skulls, hearts, eyes and genitals which are sold and used by deviant practitioners to increase wealth, influence, health or fertility. Most often, victims are kidnapped or deceitfully transported to another location before they are killed, and for that reason this form of ritual killing constitutes human trafficking



7. Forced marriage: Trafficking for Forced Marriage is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, especially girls 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 the giving or receiving of payments for the purpose of marriage.


Girls are taken abroad or to a different location within the country, either unaware of an impending marriage or having been coerced into agreeing to the marriage. They often face physical and psychological violence, their documents are removed and their movements closely monitored so they cannot leave or seek help. These forced marriages are characterized by domestic and sexual servitude, physical and psychological violence and often severe restrictions on the movement of these girls.


8. Suicide bombing and Child Soldier:  Trafficking for suicide bombing is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, especially girls 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 the giving or receiving of payments for the purpose of using them for suiciding bombing or as child soldiers.


In Nigeria, and other countries, children are kidnapped or coerced to be suicide bombers. In 2015, over 200 school girls were kidnapped, and some of them were used for suicide bombing. Also, there are instances where terrorist groups recruit underage or minors and coerce them to carry out suicide bombing, or engage them in other forms of terrorism.


9. Baby factory: There are occasions where young girls and mothers are coerced or paid to fall pregnant and give birth in the factory, known as Baby Factory. There are recent cases where women are either trafficked or paid to stay in a secluded place, get pregnant and thereafter their babies are taken away from them. The babies are either sold to desperate couples or adoptive parents or used for rituals. Some of the girls/women who are forcefully taken to baby factory live in squalid condition without adequate pre and post-natal treatment. The conditions in the factory are unhygienic and totally unsuitable for child birth and the babies.


10. Trafficking for Football

Victims of human trafficking, especially boys, are trafficked through illegal football academies or other means, with a promise of playing in foreign football clubs.   Young footballers are trafficked out of Africa every year. Most are taken to Europe in the belief that it will be the first step in their journey to earning a lucrative contract as a professional footballer. Some of these boys are minors.  Often times, they are promised trials with major clubs or guaranteed a contract. In reality, most of them have been conned by scheming agents and middlemen, intent on cashing-in on the dreams of some of the world’s poorest and most desperate people.   In West Africa, there are unlicensed, unregulated football academies, greedy coaches, agents, and foreign middle-men who are preying on young or underage footballers.


11. Trafficking for Begging:  Some of the children who are trafficked are forced to beg in the streets, and most times made to steal for the captors. Child begging may sound innocuous, but many of these children are subjected to extreme abuse, including mutilation to make them more easily pitied, and thus better potential earners. They may be disfigured by having an eye gouged out, a limb amputated, or being otherwise visibly scarred. Most children are bought or kidnapped, then forced to beg or pick pockets on the streets under threat of beatings.


12. Trafficking for Domestic Servitude :  According to BC Justice system, Trafficking for domestic servitude covers a range of situations, all of which share certain features: subjugation, intimidation and an obligation to provide work for a private individual, excessively low or no salary, few or no days off, psychological and/or physical violence, limited or restricted freedom of movement, denial of a minimum level of privacy and health care.

Most domestic servants are exploited for their labour in private homes. Most are required to clean the house, do the laundry, cook meals, maintain the lawns and gardens and look after the children, elderly relatives and pets. Most are required to be available at all times and work every day, for little or no pay, and may be verbally, physically and sexually abused by members of the household.

Living in the household of the employer, the domestic worker may constantly be required to be available to work day and night, often in living conditions that are unacceptable and subject to abuse, humiliation, discriminatory behaviour and punishment.

The issue of housemaid is a labour matter, which traffickers use to exploit their victims.  It  can occur when an exploiter takes someone’s daughter/son with a promise to take care of her, and send her to school, but  end up restricting her from going to school, subjects her to house chores, and denying her freedom of expression, movement, etc

The house maid only eats when others have finished eating. She only sleeps when other children have slept. She sleeps on the floor while other children sleep on the bed. When she falls sick the Madam gives her Paracetamol and tells her to continue with unending house chores, but when the madam’s children are sick; they will be taken to clinic/hospital.


Also, both adults and children can be trafficked to be used as house slaves.

Most domestic servants are exploited for their labour in private homes. Most are required to clean the house, do the laundry, cook meals, maintain the lawns and gardens and look after the children, elderly relatives and pets. Most are required to be available at all times and work every day, for little or no pay, and may be verbally, physically and sexually abused by members of the household.


Hear from a Victim:   Jane was a victim of child trafficking. She was taken away from her village and trafficked to Gabon, via Cameroon. “I was only eight years old at the time,” she says. “A woman that we knew took me away while my mother was ill in the hospital. I was a child, and I had no choice but to follow her.”

“We spent two days at sea before reaching Cameroon and later Gabon, where she handed me over to a friend of hers,” remembers Jane. “After about one month, she took me to her house where I met my sister, who had been taken from our home some months earlier.’’ Jane’s experience was no different from that of thousands of children who are victims of trafficking in Nigeria every year. She was abused, exploited, and refused education and care. She had to work, selling items like cigarettes, kola-nuts and liquor at a street corner. “My two years with the woman in Gabon were painful. We were not allowed to go to school while her children were able to get an education. We had no clothes and wore tattered dresses and we were very often beaten and denied food. When we were offered meals, they were leftovers, and the quantity was often measured in proportion with the money we made from the day’s sales.’’


Jane and her sister were also engaged in domestic chores, including laundry and cooking for the woman’s family. “My sister and I lived under forced labour and the harsh treatment inflicted on us attracted the attention of a neighbour who called in the police to come to our rescue.’’

Jane’s case was reported to the Nigerian embassy in Libreville, Gabon, which facilitated the intervention of the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF),a UNICEF-assisted NGO engaged in the rehabilitation of girls trafficked abroad for either forced labour or prostitution.

Eventually, Jane and five other Nigerian kids were rescued and flown home. It was the end of her nightmare. Although she re-established contact with her mother and siblings, WOTCLEF found out that it would not be possible to send Jane back home, given the difficult situation of her family.

Instead, Jane and her sister remained in the NGO’s shelter in Abuja, where she presently lives with 13 other children. WOTCLEF is also supporting her education.

“I am better off today, thanks to WOTCLEF, UNICEF and other individuals”, says Jane. “They have given me the opportunity to start a new life.”

(*Her name has been changed to protect her identity.)