Social Dialogue Magazine
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Erik Jansen, Research Centre for Social Support and Community Care, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Attitude of Women and Girls to Child Trafficking Prevention Programmes in Bodija Market, Ibadan, Nigeria.

This article investigated the attitude of women and girls to child trafficking and prevention programmes in Bodija market, Ibadan, Nigeria. The women and girls involved were randomly selected from those who have participated in some child trafficking prevention programmes. Variables considered included age, marital status, religion, education, awareness of child trafficking, knowledge of child trafficking and their attitudes. Structured interview schedule was used to collect data and analyzed with simple tables and percentages. Findings showed that there is a significant relationship between the attitude of women and girls to child trafficking and prevention programmes. It was recommended that social workers should raise more awareness and conduct sensitization programmes on child trafficking and prevention should be emphasized.

Introduction and Literature Review

Human trafficking is a global problem. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (2000) almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

Human trafficking relates to the recruitment and transporting of persons through deception, coercion or other means of manipulation for purposes of forced labour, involuntarily servitude, prostitution, sexual abuse, exploitation and enslavement (Flowers, 2006). It is a form of globalized slavery that is closely linked with prostitution (Llewellyn, Agu and Mercer, 2008). Majority of trafficked people come from the poorest parts of the world including Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Reports show that Nigeria remains a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to human trafficking including forced labour and forced prostitution. In 2001, Nigeria ratified the United Nations Protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons especially women and children as well as passed a national law in 2003, Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003. Through this act, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) was established. Non- governmental organizations like Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) have also been involved in the prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims, rehabilitation, retraining and counseling of repatriated trafficked people (Dave-Odigie, 2007).

Over 10,500 Nigerians have been rescued and repatriated from Libya, according to a national newspaper report. Another report quoted an Edo State Government official stating that no fewer than 100 students of a secondary school in Benin City had been trafficked to Libya recently. The rescue of victims of human trafficking across several states of Nigeria including Abuja, by NAPTIP, state governments, the police and other security agencies is reported in all news media platforms with alarming frequency.

NAPTIP reports that in the period from January to September 2017, it provided protection and assistance to 1,228 rescued victims of human trafficking and 413 per cent or 506 were children under the age of 18.

Although international trafficking for prostitution is a more recent phenomenon in Nigeria, it has climaxed in the last decade and Nigeria is the worst hit African country in the trafficking pandemic (Falola and Afolabi, 2007). In June 2001, a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) identified a number of states in Nigeria as center points for child traffickers in terms of both supplying and receiving children as well as acting as transit routes (Human Rights Watch, 2002). It has been going on with the trafficking of people from rural communities to major cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Calabar, Warri, and Port-harcourt, predominantly for exploitative domestic work, scavenging, begging and prostitution (Dave-Odigie, 2007).

Nigeria has a large number of adolescents living and making a living on the streets (Bamgbose, 2002). Between March 1999 and December 2000, 1,112 Nigerian women were deported from 5 countries for trafficking related reasons. The Nigeria Police Desk Office on human trafficking reported that between 1999 and 2001, over 8633 trafficked persons were deported back to Nigeria. Between 1999 and 2003, 19,774 Nigerians had been deported from Europe for human trafficking offences related to prostitution. As of May 2003 according to the estimates of United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, as many as 300,000 Nigerian women have been trafficked since 1997. Nigeria women constitute more than 50% of all Africans who have been trafficked anywhere in the world (Falola and Afolabi, 2007).

While it is an established fact that most trafficked African women agree to migrate for the sake of better economic prospects, some of them are just kidnapped and trafficked for prostitution against their wishes (Falola and Afolabi, 2007). On the scene, human trafficking is motivated and continue to thrive because of poverty, ignorance, selfishness, greed and lack of state capacity to translate policy into action. The result of the harsh economic realities in Nigeria such as lack of job opportunities for both its skilled and unskilled labour, lack of welfare package to cater for the needs of the unemployed and ignorance have contributed to its sustenance. Furthermore, due to social change because of rapid urbanization, education, globalization and harsh economic conditions there has been a decline in traditional and cultural values. Rapid urbanization led to alteration of the extended family and community forms of solidarity. Corruption and ineptitude of security agents charged with border security is also an important factor in the sustenance of human trafficking in Nigeria (Dave-Odigie, 2007).

To stem the rising tide in human trafficking in Nigeria, the government has set up machineries and embarked on legislations while aligning with international protocols for both preventive and deterrent measures. However, the practice remains entrenched despite initiatives by several governmental and non- governmental bodies (Human Rights Watch, 2002). Dave-Odigie notes further that much still need to be done as the problem still persists because it is a covert activity and thus the extent to which it occurs remains unknown (Dave-Odigie, 2007).


The general objective of this study is to find out the attitude of women and girls towards child trafficking and prevention programme at the Bodija market in Ibadan.


Design: A descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The population of the study covered women and girls who are involved in or aware of child trafficking and prevention programme at the Bodija market.

Study Area: Bodija market is one of the largest markets in Nigeria, it is close to the University of Ibadan and offers an array of foodstuffs. Located conspicuously at the heart of Ibadan, capital city of Oyo State.

A purposive sampling technique was used to draw a sample of 160 women and children from the market.

Instrumentation: The study employed the use of a semi-structured questionnaire for data collection which was subjected to face and content validity through expert review with a test-retest reliability of 0.8.

Data Collection and Analysis: The researcher obtained permission from the market heads (“Iyaloja” and “Babaloja”). Data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics for demographic variables. Findings and Discussion

The socio demographic characteristics of respondents on attitude of women and girls to child trafficking gave an insight in order to appreciate the features of respondents. They included sex, age, ethnic group, state of origin religion, occupation and marital status.

Information was collected from a total of 160 respondents. The respondents had a fair awareness and knowledge of child trafficking because some of them have at one time or the other been victims that lead to women and of child trafficking in the market. The age distribution of respondents: more than half of the respondents (56.9%) were aged 16-35 years and 89.0% of the respondents were Yoruba. The prevalence of those respondents from Yoruba ethnic group was because the study was carried out in a Yoruba speaking area. Again, the presence of other ethnic groups shows the cosmopolitan nature of Ibadan city. With regards to religion, the data shows that 26.9% of respondents used in the study practice Islam while 70.6% were Christians and 1.3% of respondents were practicing others religion while only 1.3% of respondents did not respond to religion.

Again in respect to occupation, 13.1% of respondents were students, 23.1% of respondents used for the study were employed, 32.5% of respondents were self- employed, 8.1% and 11.7% of respondents engaged on other occupation that was not stated while 1.3% of respondents used in the study was silence about their occupation. In regard to educational qualification 53.8% of respondents have no formal education. Pertaining to marital status 52.5% of respondents used in the study were single. On the attitude and awareness of women and girls at Bodija market to child, trafficking/preventions programme, 56.7% of the respondents indicated awareness of child trafficking which is a simple majority while a minority 39.8% of the respondents are aware of NGOs working to stop or prevent child trafficking in Bodija market. On the attitude, 55.2% of the respondents like the child trafficking while 35.7% want it to stop.


The result indicates that a large number of women have a laissez fair attitude towards child trafficking 55.2% and 35.7% want it to stop. Many of the girls even desire it thinking that they do not have another option or a way out of poverty, since their parents are unable to provide for their up keep. In addition, several young girls encourage other girls to engage in child trafficking. The findings were supported by Bales (2007) which states that poverty drives the attitude and demand for women and children to engage in child trafficking. In most cases, many of these young girls are recruited from neighbouring schools and communities in promise of better job opportunities.

In areas with the attitude rate and high poverty risk rate, people are in constant search for employment and better life, often having undergone years of frustration because of bad living conditions and impossibility of providing for the basic needs. Such a state leads to decreased caution and acceptance of various job offers, without additional background checks and analysis of offered conditions. This implies that trafficking victims are in a very harsh condition that they lack the money to meet basic life needs. In most markets there are well organised syndicates that specialise in recruiting young women and girls for child trafficking. This is supported by Flowers (2011) who opined that pimps and madams play important role in prostitution acting as facilitators and operators using different means to keep the operation running smoothly.

Regarding the attitude of women towards child trafficking, the result of this study indicate that more than half of the respondents (55.2%) like child trafficking while a minority of (35.7%) want it to stop. It is not therefore surprising that most of the respondents believed that there are positive economic gains to be made from child trafficking. Clearly, any programme aiming to stop or prevent child trafficking at Bodija market must try to address the economic realities of women’s lives.

Social workers try to inspire a desire for change in the lifestyle of their clients. The prospects for dealing effectively with numerous social problems seems increasingly optimistic. This may be another instance of the triumph of hope over experience. Yet there is not only a growing rigorous research base for some well documented practice methods, but there is also a national groundswell favouring major changes in lifestyle and of social organizations that seek to promote education and well-being. Social workers have the opportunity to renew and to participate in what looks to be the major social-educational revolution of the century: “to aid in the solution of the social and industrial problems which are engendered by the modern conditions of life”.

Prevention as a Means for Attaining Access to Education through the “IEEP” the girl project ieep is an acronym formed from the words inform, enlighten, educate and prepare the girl-child for a good future. The “ieep the girl”-project is currently being proposed as a social work intervention technique to be used by school social work students as they are posted to public schools for their practicum. Trafficking is an item on the unknown burden of the girl-child hence, any programme that will help and empower the girl-child in taking an informed decision to addressing this unknown burden should be encouraged. It has been used by this author and has proved effective in shaping girls’ lives. Folaranmi (2007, 2014). Strengthening human trafficking prevention programs by focusing on the right to education and the right to gainful employment decreases girls and women's vulnerability to traffickers. As prevention methods, education and gainful employment increase standards of living that help keep women and girls out of the reach of traffickers.


Based on the findings from this study, it was concluded that the attitude of women and girls have strong influences on child trafficking at Bodija market in Nigeria, and this constitute a major hindrance to various prevention programmes. The attitude cuts across various demographic variables which is not unrelated to the prevailing harsh economic realities in Nigeria especially for young women and girls. It is believed that this attitude can best be corrected through education and enlightenment programmes.



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