Thursday, December 01, 2005
ON SLAVERY TODAY
Forced labor in NIgeria.
I watched them coming toward me, mouth jerking as in worked by wires,
eyes open with beggarliness, arms stretching in violent outreaching,
eye milky drawing on me, killing me with my thoughts.
My country, Nigeria with every scenery to show for her ordeal.
The view of trafficked children working on the streets, children not
yet in their teens, hawking along the busy road, how many have met
their death? How many have been exploited and abused and used?
I read about them in the foreign media, and I wondered why not in my
own country are there publications on the subject? Yet I read on the
BBC web site that Unicef estimates that human trafficking is the
most lucrative trade in West Africa. Why? This discovery will shock
you when you realize the support that human trafficking enjoys at
almost every level of the Nigerian society, and more shocking is the
fact that the trafficked children were rented out with the
collaboration of the victims' own immediate families, Many of the
victims are too young to understand their rights or are illegally
recruited from the north or the poorer village tribes by individuals;
forced to work as hired hands and forced to work against their will,
What does a house help mean? What is the hidden meaning behind the
words, what does "a slave", mean, is there any difference
two, and maybe we are ignorant of these terms but are we really? Are
we really ignorant about our past, is the government blind to the
plight of these children being taken into 'slavery' or when their
immediate parents, aunts and uncles were being tricked into taking a
loan, a loan that may tie them into the bondage of slavery forever
children work in exploitative and/or dangerous conditions.
According to the United Nations census (Unicef ) there are no fewer
that 15 million children working in exploitative labor in Nigeria,
but they are wrong, as an African and a traveling nomad I can paint a
bigger picture of the "21st century slave trade."
I had my first intimate sexual encounter when I was but seven years
old with a house help not yet in her teens. Children not yet in their
teens are forced to learn about sex or to work in the sex industry.
As the writer in me grows, so does the knowledge grow that this
trade will continue and as it continues , it will continue to use new
terms even though it is illegal under international law.
Trafficking is the fastest growing form of slavery in the third world
nation today, yet protection for the victims of this crime is never